Weather Balloons Facts

Weather Balloons Facts
A weather balloon is a balloon that carries certain instruments high into the air to record or send information back to be used for research and weather information. One of the first recorded times a weather balloon was used was in the late 1800s when Leon Teisserenc de Bort - a French meteorologist - launched several weather balloons that resulted in the discovery of the tropopause and stratosphere. The balloon of a weather balloon provides the lift for the apparatus while the recording instrument hangs below. This hanging portion of the weather balloon is called the radiosonde as it transmits via radio transmission. Weather balloons can be filled with hydrogen or helium but hydrogen is less expensive. The balloon itself is usually made with very flexible latex or chloroprene.
Interesting Weather Balloons Facts:
Weather balloons can be used to determine current weather conditions as well as to provide data for forecasting and for research.
Weather balloons can also be used for purposes outside of the weather field including for aviation purposes, monitoring of pollution, video creation, photography, and research.
In 1958 weather balloons called transosondes were experimented with to record debris from atomic fallout. These were meant to stay in place for a long period of time.
Both civilian and military governments use weather balloons. The National Weather Service is a meteorological agency in the U.S. that launches weather balloons on a regular basis and shares the data with countries around the world.
The first meteorologist known to launch weather balloons, Leon Teisserenc de Bort, subsequently had a moon crater and a crater on Mars named after him because of his work.
The Continental Drift Theory, discovered by Alfred Wegener in the early 20th century, was a result of his use of weather balloons. Although he published his theory in 1912 nobody really accepted it until 30 years after his death, in the 1960s. He also had a moon crater and Mars crater named after him.
Weather balloons come in a variety of sizes from 350 grams to as much as 1500 grams. Weather balloons are listed by their weight not their physical size as this varies somewhat.
Weather balloons can reach tremendous heights, with some high altitude balloons reaching as high as 32 miles high into the stratosphere namely the BU60-1, in 2002 which reached 32.9 miles.
Heavier weather balloons cost more to launch because more gas must be used.
A balloonist named Jean-Pierre Blanchard launched from Paris in 1785 with American John Jeffries to cross the English Channel in an attempt to measure the upper atmosphere for the first time but a near crash caused Jeffries to throw his equipment overboard. The mission was scrapped.
Some companies have begun to offer a funeral service that scatters human ashes at high altitudes with weather balloons. This service would benefit those people that wish their ashes to be scattered at a high level above the earth, possibly because they spent part of their lives high above the earth which would be the case with pilots and skydivers.

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