“It was really wonderful to see Sunrise launch on its first attempt.”

Greg Card, an instrument engineer with NCAR’s High Altitude Observatory, was part of the international solar observing project Sunrise. Participants watched from the Esrange Space Center in Kiruna, Sweden, on 8 June as the Sunrise balloon—large enough to contain a Boeing 747 jet—pulled the world’s largest-ever balloon-borne telescope into the stratosphere.

Sunrise launch

The telescope drifted west over the Arctic for more than a week, gathering images at a higher resolution than possible from Earth’s surface. The Sunrise project is led by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research.  See more photos and video of the launch and preparations for Sunrise.

A long time coming: Sunrise balloon launch successful (Staffnotes, June 12, 2009)

Sunrise Telescope Research Flight 2009 from Kiruna, Sweden (Multimedia Gallery, June 8, 2009)