Up, up, and away

Up, up, and away

Up, up, and away

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Sept. 25 2011 7:00 AM

Up, up, and away

I was in my home office yesterday morning, sipping my coffee and trying to wake up while perusing the latest news from Twitter and Google+. It took a second, but the sound coming from outside worked its way into my head... a rushing, roaring sound. "GGGGggggggshhhhhh! GGGGggggggshhhhhh!"

I knew what it was right away: the flame from a hot air balloon, the pilot giving the bag some gas. We get a lot of balloons here in Boulder; the cool air in the summer mornings coupled with the spectacular view of the mountains makes them really popular. But this time was different; the sound was much louder than usual. Hmph, I thought, better grab the camera.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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I ran outside, and yeah, it was close:

Wow! [Click to fifthdimensionate.]

It actually rose up from behind my house, so I ran down the street to get a good view. It flew past me (where I got this shot) then passed overhead where I got that shot.

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How close was it? Close enough to wave at the passengers in the gondola, and have them wave back. That was cool.

It slipped out of sight, and landed in a field across from my neighborhood. I went back inside, but a few minutes later my wife called out, "We've got two more!" I went into my back yard, and one was landing in the field behind my house, too:


I have to say, this is a great way to wake up in the morning. It's simply delightful. And I have a sneaky suspicion that sometime in the next year or so I'll have to taker a ride like this myself with my family. I'd love to be able to take pictures like this from the other side.

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