Sunday, November 4, 2007

Photo Catch-Up: Nighttime Rocket Launch

Daylight Saving Time finds me with an extra hour this afternoon, so I thought I'd post some more catch-up photos. It would make more sense, sure, to finish the description of the Chicago trip, but instead I feel like talking about rockets.

My friend Pete is into model rockets, specifically building and flying scale models. He and I met some twenty-mumble years ago at the EMU astronomy club way back when I was a freshman. Back then I even made and flew a rocket or two of my own. This summer, I took a day off work and went to one day of NARAM (National Association of Rocketry Annual Meeting), which took place near Kalamazoo this year. It was kind of fun watching rockets fly up even if it was hotter than a colorful expression in July. I had forgotten many enjoyable aspects of being a spectator. And it's fun hanging out in a completely different "subculture" every now and then.

Last month, Pete's local astronomy club, HUVARS, held a night launch which I invited myself along to. Each rocket had some kind of lighting incorporated into it, so it could be seen at night. Some had glosticks attached, some had lights that made the rocket look like a Christmas candle, and some had a rainbow light that would flash in different patterns.

Even though it's harder to see the rockets reach their peak altitude at night than during the daytime, you do see "fireworks"--the sparks of ignition, which aren't noticeable much by day.

All in all, a pretty cool diversion!

For all the photos from the launch, click here. If you've ever wondered what the Garden Faerie looks like, you can spot her there.

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