Japan's Weather Experiment to Shame the Moon

In its never-ending quest to out-sci-fi the world, Japan is treating its citizens to what they're calling a "space fireworks show"—resulting from an experiment to study the atmosphere. On Sunday night at 7:26 p.m. (in Japan) an S-520 rocket will be launched into the sky and release lithium vapor into the ionosphere, creating three huge red balls of light—both as big and bright as the moon—to be seen in the sky for one and a half minutes.

The purpose of the experiment—as the above picture so clearly explains—is to study the atmospheric flow of the ionosphere at an altitude between 100 to 300 km—a veritable atmospheric "blind spot" for both satellites and weather balloons. The balls of light are caused when sunlight strikes the lithium vapor clouds as they disperse, and will give the people of Japan a quick glimpse into the beauty that is Armageddon. [PinkTentacle via Asahi]