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Mission 2 The Sky Experiment: Flight Path - Speed and Direction

4:09 PM, May 19, 2010   |    comments
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Once we let go of the balloon, the helium will lift it and the wind will push it through the sky. It is important to know the speed and direction of the wind so we can predict where to find our package when it lands.

Our flight unit will weigh several pounds and we want to have it reach a height of 100,000+ft (approx 20miles) so we can get some great photos and video of the weather from way up in the sky.  To have this happen we will need a huge balloon which will be 6ft in diameter when filled on the ground and will grow to nearly 25 feet in diameter when it expands at the top of the atmosphere!  We will need to fill the balloon with a lot of helium to get it off the ground and have it rise quickly up into the air.

These large balloons are difficult to manage and it will take several people to hold on to the balloon and release it safely into the air. Once it is let go the wind will push it along at a slow pace near the ground, but once it is thousands of feet in the air it will enter the jet stream and get blown at speeds of up to 80mph!  Our trip will take about 3-4hrs and that means our balloon could go along way from where we launched it.  In fact, depending on the wind speed and direction it could come back down as far away as Pennsylvania!

The National Weather Service in Buffalo will be launching their balloon with ours and we will be able to get the speed and direction of the wind not just at the ground, but also high up in the sky.  This way we will be able to have a good idea where our balloon will go once we can't see it from the ground any longer.

You can see the launch Live on TV Monday May 24th between 6 & 7am here on Channel 2!

We will post the National Weather Service data for our launch on this page.  Here is s sample of the information gathered by the National Weather Service Balloon.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
   PRES   HGHT   TEMP   DWPT   RELH   MIXR   DRCT   SKNT   THTA   THTE   THTV
    hPa     m      C      C      %    g/kg    deg   knot     K      K      K 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1000.0    129                                                               
  989.0    215   10.2    8.3     88   6.99      0      0  284.2  303.8  285.4
  980.0    292   10.2    6.9     80   6.40     17      2  285.0  303.1  286.1
  971.0    370   11.8    6.8     71   6.42     33      4  287.4  305.6  288.5
  953.0    529   11.6    4.6     62   5.61     67      8  288.7  304.9  289.7
  943.8    610   10.9    4.2     63   5.51     85     10  288.8  304.7  289.7
  925.0    780    9.4    3.4     66   5.31    100     15  288.9  304.3  289.8
  910.1    914    8.4    3.1     69   5.29    105     20  289.2  304.6  290.2
  904.0    970    8.0    3.0     71   5.28    104     21  289.4  304.7  290.3
  877.1   1219    7.9    1.0     62   4.70    100     27  291.8  305.6  292.6
  862.0   1363    7.8   -0.2     57   4.39     75     24  293.1  306.2  293.9
  850.0   1478    7.0   -1.0     57   4.20     55     21  293.5  306.0  294.2
  845.2   1524    6.7   -1.1     58   4.21     50     24  293.6  306.2  294.3
  814.1   1829    4.4   -1.4     66   4.27     45     28  294.3  307.1  295.1
  784.1   2134    2.1   -1.7     76   4.33     55     32  295.1  308.1  295.8
  765.0   2334    0.6   -1.9     83   4.37     52     29  295.5  308.6  296.3
  755.1   2438   -0.1   -2.9     81   4.10     50     28  295.8  308.2  296.6
  726.8   2743   -2.3   -6.0     76   3.38     50     32  296.7  307.1  297.3
  724.0   2774   -2.5   -6.3     75   3.31     50     32  296.8  307.0  297.4
  723.0   2785   -2.5   -6.6     73   3.24     50     33  296.9  306.9  297.5
  720.0   2818   -2.7   -9.7     59   2.56     50     33  297.1  305.0  297.5
  715.0   2873   -3.1  -12.1     50   2.12     50     34  297.2  303.9  297.6
  712.0   2907   -3.1  -17.1     33   1.41     50     34  297.6  302.1  297.8
  700.0   3041   -3.3  -19.3     28   1.19     50     36  298.8  302.7  299.0
  699.4   3048   -3.3  -19.3     28   1.19     50     37  298.8  302.7  299.1
  696.0   3086   -3.5  -19.5     28   1.18     50     36  299.1  302.9  299.3
  671.0   3375   -5.7  -19.7     32   1.20     53     30  299.7  303.7  300.0
  647.2   3658   -6.0  -14.3     52   1.97     55     24  302.5  308.9  302.9
  638.0   3770   -6.1  -12.1     63   2.38     40     20  303.6  311.3  304.1
  622.6   3962   -7.5  -12.5     67   2.37     15     14  304.2  311.8  304.7
  622.0   3969   -7.5  -12.5     67   2.37     15     14  304.2  311.9  304.7
  598.5   4267  -10.4  -12.8     82   2.39     20     14  304.3  312.0  304.7
  580.0   4509  -12.7  -13.1     97   2.42      4     13  304.3  312.1  304.8
  568.0   4669  -13.9  -14.2     98   2.25    354     13  304.7  312.0  305.1
  564.0   4723  -12.3  -12.7     97   2.57    350     13  307.2  315.5  307.7
  555.0   4846  -12.1  -14.9     80   2.18    342     12  308.9  316.0  309.3
  552.8   4877  -12.3  -15.2     79   2.13    340     12  309.0  316.1  309.4
  510.3   5486  -15.4  -21.3     61   1.37    345     14  312.4  317.1  312.6
  509.0   5505  -15.5  -21.5     60   1.36    339     14  312.5  317.1  312.7
  502.0   5610  -15.7  -27.7     35   0.79    309     12  313.5  316.3  313.6
  500.0   5640  -15.9  -27.9     35   0.78    300     11  313.6  316.4  313.7
  470.4   6096  -19.5  -28.9     43   0.75    285      9  314.6  317.3  314.7
  466.0   6167  -20.1  -29.1     45   0.74    282      9  314.7  317.4  314.9
  451.2   6401  -21.9  -31.5     41   0.61    270     11  315.4  317.6  315.5
  400.0   7280  -28.5  -40.5     31   0.28    275      8  317.9  318.9  317.9
  398.0   7315  -28.8  -40.8     30   0.27    270      8  318.0  319.0  318.0
  381.1   7620  -31.2  -43.5     29   0.21    285     10  318.8  319.6  318.8
  364.9   7925  -33.6  -46.2     27   0.17    290     12  319.5  320.2  319.5
  349.4   8230  -36.0  -48.8     26   0.13    275     13  320.2  320.8  320.3
  339.0   8442  -37.7  -50.7     24   0.11    282     16  320.7  321.2  320.7
  334.4   8534  -38.5  -51.4     24   0.10    285     18  320.8  321.2  320.8
  305.6   9144  -44.1  -56.3     25   0.06    275     22  321.3  321.6  321.3
  300.0   9270  -45.3  -57.3     25   0.06    275     21  321.4  321.6  321.4
  281.0   9703  -49.3  -61.3     23   0.04    277     22  321.7  321.9  321.7
  253.0  10384  -54.7  -65.7     24   0.02    280     25  323.5  323.6  323.5
  250.0  10460  -55.1  -66.1     24   0.02    280     25  324.0  324.1  324.0
  234.0  10879  -57.1  -68.1     24   0.02    277     28  327.2  327.2  327.2
  232.0  10933  -56.5  -67.5     24   0.02    276     29  328.9  329.0  328.9
  227.0  11071  -57.5  -68.5     23   0.02    275     30  329.4  329.5  329.4
  222.0  11211  -57.1  -68.1     24   0.02    275     32  332.1  332.2  332.1
  219.7  11278  -57.2  -68.2     23   0.02    275     33  333.0  333.1  333.0
  210.0  11561  -57.5  -68.5     23   0.02    280     28  336.8  336.9  336.8
  203.0  11776  -55.7  -66.7     24   0.02    283     25  342.9  343.1  342.9
  200.0  11870  -56.1  -67.1     24   0.02    285     23  343.8  343.9  343.8
  193.0  12097  -56.5  -67.5     24   0.02    285     25  346.6  346.8  346.6
  190.1  12192  -55.8  -67.0     23   0.02    285     26  349.2  349.4  349.2
  181.3  12497  -53.6  -65.5     22   0.03    275     16  357.7  357.8  357.7
  181.0  12507  -53.5  -65.5     22   0.03    275     16  357.9  358.1  358.0
  150.0  13710  -56.1  -68.1     21   0.03    260     32  373.2  373.4  373.2
  149.9  13716  -56.1  -68.1     21   0.03    260     32  373.3  373.4  373.3
  147.0  13838  -56.3  -68.3     21   0.03    260     31  375.0  375.2  375.0
  139.0  14194  -55.3  -67.3     21   0.03    262     28  382.8  383.0  382.8
  131.0  14570  -56.3  -68.3     21   0.03    263     25  387.6  387.8  387.6
  124.0  14920  -54.1  -66.1     22   0.04    264     22  397.7  397.9  397.7
  118.0  15240  -54.2  -66.2     21   0.04    265     19  403.1  403.4  403.2
  116.0  15347  -54.3  -66.3     21   0.04    267     19  405.0  405.2  405.0
  108.0  15802  -56.5  -68.5     21   0.03    273     20  409.2  409.4  409.2
  100.0  16290  -56.3  -68.3     21   0.04    280     20  418.7  418.9  418.7
   84.3  17374  -56.9  -68.8     21   0.04    270     29  438.5  438.7  438.5
   82.9  17483  -56.9  -68.9     21   0.04    273     27  440.5  440.8  440.5
   76.6  17987  -55.1  -67.1     21   0.06    285     18  454.3  454.7  454.3
   76.6  17983  -55.1  -67.1     21   0.06    285     18  454.2  454.6  454.2
   73.4  18259  -56.9  -68.9     21   0.05    258     13  456.1  456.4  456.1
   73.1  18288  -56.9  -68.9     21   0.05    255     13  456.7  457.0  456.7
   70.0  18560  -56.9  -68.9     21   0.05    255     15  462.3  462.6  462.3
   61.6  19367  -57.7  -69.7     20   0.05    276     14  477.7  478.1  477.7
   60.3  19507  -57.5  -69.5     20   0.05    280     14  481.3  481.7  481.3
   54.7  20117  -56.4  -68.4     21   0.07    260     15  497.2  497.7  497.2
   50.7  20602  -55.5  -67.5     21   0.09    328     12  510.2  510.8  510.2
   50.0  20690  -55.9  -67.9     21   0.08    340     11  511.3  511.9  511.3
   48.7  20857  -56.9  -68.9     21   0.07    326      9  512.8  513.3  512.8
   45.2  21336  -54.7  -67.4     19   0.10    285      4  529.3  530.0  529.4
   44.0  21504  -53.9  -66.9     19   0.11    293      4  535.2  536.0  535.2
   38.6  22341  -55.1  -68.1     18   0.10    335      1  552.6  553.4  552.6
   35.6  22860  -52.9  -65.9     19   0.15      0      0  571.3  572.5  571.4
   35.4  22897  -52.7  -65.7     19   0.16    357      0  572.6  573.9  572.7
   31.4  23667  -54.5  -67.5     19   0.14    283      4  587.8  588.9  587.8
   30.0  23960  -52.7  -65.7     19   0.19    255      5  600.4  601.9  600.4
   29.1  24157  -51.7  -65.7     17   0.19    292     10  608.4  610.0  608.4
   28.1  24384  -52.1  -66.1     17   0.19    335     15  613.3  614.9  613.4
   27.7  24476  -52.3  -66.3     17   0.18    316     13  615.3  616.9  615.4
   25.6  24994  -50.2  -64.7     16   0.25    210      1  635.5  637.6  635.5
   23.8  25464  -48.3  -63.3     16   0.32    220      4  654.2  657.1  654.4
   21.2  26226  -47.3  -63.3     14   0.36    237      8  679.2  682.5  679.4
   20.0  26610  -48.5  -64.5     14   0.33    245     10  687.0  690.0  687.1
   19.9  26643  -48.7  -64.7     14   0.32    247     10  687.3  690.3  687.5
   17.7  27432  -45.8  -62.8     13   0.47    305     19  720.4  724.9  720.6
   17.6  27455  -45.7  -62.7     13   0.47    305     19  721.4  726.0  721.6
   14.9  28562  -46.9  -63.9     13   0.48    319     20  752.5  757.4  752.8
   14.3  28835  -44.7  -61.7     13   0.66    322     21  768.8  775.6  769.1
   12.3  29870  -41.9  -59.8     13   0.99    335     22  813.2  823.8  813.7
   12.0  30017  -41.5  -59.5     12   1.05                819.7  831.0  820.2

Station information and sounding indices

                         Station identifier: BUF
                             Station number: 72528
                           Observation time: 100519/1200
                           Station latitude: 42.93
                          Station longitude: -78.73
                          Station elevation: 215.0
                            Showalter index: 9.02
                               Lifted index: 9.99
    LIFT computed using virtual temperature: 9.97
                                SWEAT index: 52.99
                                    K index: 5.90
                         Cross totals index: 14.90
                      Vertical totals index: 22.90
                        Totals totals index: 37.80
      Convective Available Potential Energy: 0.00
             CAPE using virtual temperature: 0.00
                      Convective Inhibition: 0.00
             CINS using virtual temperature: 0.00
                     Bulk Richardson Number: 0.00
          Bulk Richardson Number using CAPV: 0.00
  Temp [K] of the Lifted Condensation Level: 277.58
Pres [hPa] of the Lifted Condensation Level: 884.92
     Mean mixed layer potential temperature: 287.47
              Mean mixed layer mixing ratio: 6.00
              1000 hPa to 500 hPa thickness: 5511.00
Precipitable water [mm] for entire sounding: 18.17

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