An Astronomy Club Experience With a Space Perspective Balloon Ride

science
space balloon in stratosphere (Click here for original source image)

What is a Stratospheric Viewing? A Stratospheric Viewing, also known as a Stratosphere Scenery Viewing and an Earth Viewing is the most familiar term for what we normally think of when the words “Stratosphere” or “Sphere” are mentioned. That is a balloon-image map of the atmosphere. However, this is not the whole story.

The “Stratosphere” is more than just the sky. It is the entire atmosphere, including clouds, rain and other precipitation, the earth’s radiation belt (a layer of atmosphere several thousands of miles thick that reflects back solar heating and other weather conditions), and even the polar jet stream. All of this contributes to the Stratosphere. When viewing the atmosphere from a Stratospheric Viewing balloon, the perspective is not limited to the “aerosol layer” above the earth. This is an advantage because one can view all levels of the atmosphere.

The viewing angle of a Stratospheric Viewing balloon is not only limited to where the balloon is flying. It extends well below and beyond the horizon of the launching location. It makes use of special aerial devices called “aeroscopes,” which allows the pilot to see very faint layers of air. These layers can be as faint as a smudge on the sky or as rich with color as a sunset.

A Stratospheric Viewing will show you everything from the inner edge of the Earth’s atmosphere to its outer edge. It will give you the perspective of the “aerosphere” as seen by someone standing on the ground. The view from here will include the “lower Atmosphere,” or the ionosphere, and the “upper Atmosphere,” or the mesosphere. Even places not within the stratosphere such as the thermospheres or the clouds can be viewed.

The balloon flight path and the final position of the Stratospheric Viewing are critical elements in the viewing. The pilot must carefully plot these positions so that they will allow for a good view of the Earth’s curvature and atmosphere. The view will rotate about the central point of the balloon at certain angles. This “winding” motion also creates an optical illusion of rotation about the axis of the balloon. The viewing itself can be thought of as a representation of a spinning tornado.

There are some things that the pilot should keep in mind during the flight. The balloon itself cannot be seen by the human eye. The reason for this is due to the high altitudes and low levels of the atmosphere. Only someone on the ground can see the balloon and therefore cannot “see” space. To “see” space, a space simulator is used or the pilot can go “above” the earth’s atmosphere.

The views from a Stratospheric Viewing are a great way to introduce people to the beauty of space. A balloon flight can last for up to six hours at a time. If viewing the balloon from an altitude, it is possible to appreciate the many different colours of the Earth and learn much about its atmosphere. Many pilots also use the opportunity of a balloon flight to get their family on board.

Ballooning is a safe and exciting hobby for anyone with a desire to travel to space. The flight can be viewed from almost any location in the world and there is a large variety of different aircraft to choose from. Some pilots even choose to launch live animals on board.

To take full advantage of a balloon view, a wide-angled camera, tripod and binoculars are required. Many people prefer to have the view from above because they find it easier to appreciate the landscape. There is nothing more exhilarating than rising into a balloon and looking out at the earth and space. The most common reason for setting off a balloon flight is to view the Earth or moon, but sometimes other celestial bodies are also viewed. Astronomy clubs offer courses on how to view the earth from orbit.

The view from above is not only limited to the earth and moon, however. There are balloon flights that take riders to view the moon, Mars, and even the stars. Sometimes balloon flights are designed for passengers who want to witness meteor streaks and more. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to what can be viewed from above. Many people also enjoy taking pictures of the scenery and the beautiful colors of the earth below them.

With a space perspective balloon ride one never knows what they will see beyond the horizon. It is an experience like no other. Learning about outer space and viewing the various landscapes from a great height to make all the other terrestrial experiences that much more interesting. A balloon ride provides everyone the chance to step outside their comfort zones and travel into a world that most people have only ever dreamed of seeing.

Provided by Antonio Westley

Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.

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