Tonight’s night sky MIGHT be filled with glowing clouds

If you’re not too busy watching TV tonight (because American Horror Story, Empire, Arrow, Supernatural, Nashville, Modern Family, and Black-ish are all on, and you have to watch all of them) you might want to take a look at the night sky. NASA is launching a rocket tonight, and it’s going to fill the sky with glowing colorful clouds of vapor, because science is awesome.

This rocket, being launched from Wallops Island, Virginia, is set to take off anytime between 7pm and 9pm, EST. Once airborne, this “sounding rocket” is basically going for a test drive, to see if it can work on real ships and rockets. The rocket is also set to study ions and neutral particles in the atmosphere, and to do so it will eject a mixture of barium and strontium — the same things used to make fireworks. That’s what’s going to create the glowing clouds. The clouds should be blue-green and red in color, and a perfectly harmless, or as NASA put it, “not charged.”

Tonight’s launch window for the #BlackBrantIX sounding rocket is 7:07-7:31 p.m. Fingers crossed for clear skies! #NASAWallops

PHEW. OK. Now where can you see them? Up and down the East Coast, from Washington D.C. to New York City — that is, if the skies are clear. Right now, the launch is set for just after 7pm, so start clearing your schedule for it. You can also check out a livestream of the rocket here, if you just can’t pull yourself away from the TV.

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