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Photos of the day – UFO over Albuquerque 9.22.2012

Got a call from a friend just a few minutes ago and he started out with a “wierd science” question.  He told me to go out and look at the moon and then look just a bit to the north west of it and tell him what was I seeing.

I saw it, and was pretty dumbfounded.  It was about as bright as the moon, but about a quarter of the size and not possibly a star.  I told him I’d call him back after I ran into the house to grab my big lens to try and see what it was.

There it is, our own bright light in the sky, long after sunset, but still as bright as the moon.

At first I thought I could see a gondola below it.  I called it a gas balloon, but it turns out on magnification, it is an ordinary weather balloon.  Its not as bright as the moon in this image because I wanted to see the detail.


And closer yet, you can faintly see a red tether below the balloon.

Thanks Rodger, that was cool.  It’s a great item to add to my sky collection here in Albuquerque.

Edit – KOB posted a story about this that states the balloon is part of a NASA project called WASP and that it started out in Fort Sumner and slowly drifted west at high altitude.  They have a nice image of the balloon here.  Since I caught it just before the sun set at that high altitude I couldn’t see the translucent nature of the balloon.


September 22, 2012 - 8:48 pm megan - Thanks! It was REALLY cool to see..even cooler to see it up close!

September 25, 2012 - 12:59 am david - Excellent Picture.....ByTheWay..If that doesn't look like a weather balloon or someone with a clever imagination and a lot of helium to make a good conservation piece and a good gimmick to get people to come to balloon fiesta in a week or so.

September 25, 2012 - 12:29 pm admin - Actually, at first I thought it was one of the gas balloons that they race during the fiesta. From the lens it looked like a gondola underneath, but once downloaded to the computer I was able to see that it was a gas balloon, just not one for a race.

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