Above-the-clouds stargazing from reusable aerostats - the experience provided by observatories
Image credit: https://textinmotion.com/media/backgrounds/000/000/460/background/full/AboveClouds-BG-1.jpg; https://www.businessinsider.com/helium-space-aerospace-virgin-galactic-blue-origin-spacex-space-tourism-2020-10?r=US&IR=T
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- On cloudy nights observatories that are located at relatively low altitudes can't provide stargazing events and users who book those in advance get them canceled and have to come another time.
- Some important, rare, and short-lived celestial events, like comet passings, moon eclipses, planets or stars being more brightly visible, etc. might be completely missed due to cloudy weather. Like the recent Earth and Mars alignment on December 8th - it was cloudy where I live so I missed it. This inspired the idea.
- Just the rising above the clouds at night part alone should be an amazing experience, more impressive than seeing the sun above the clouds on a cloudy day, I suppose. When you see this during the airplane flight the experience is limited because you only have a tiny window to look out from and are sitting in an enclosed space. Doing this with a passenger balloon the process would be slower and the view way more spherical and direct.
- Depending on a geographical location, weather conditions, season of the year, and other factors, this might be a relatively inexpensive and convenient service.
- Commercial balloon flights to the stratosphere are on the rise now. One American company is offering a seat on their upcoming flight for 50,000 $, which is comparably affordable. However, to use balloons just to rise above the clouds would be way easier to execute and therefore should be way, way cheaper.