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Night Glow

1 April 2013

Night Glow

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The burner was shut off shortly after the shutter was snapped as the flame is beginning to bend upwards — photo by Joseph May

The launching of a hot air balloon after the sun has set is a beautiful site. The flame from the burner lights the interior, with great roaring whooshing sounds, but for only seconds at a time. Since heat rises the flow of gas is stopped lest the collar melt. The process is repeated as required until the envelope has filled sufficiently — the power implied by the noise and the iterative pulses of light, what is not to like?

— photo by Joseph May

The burner has just begun igniting the propane fuel as can be seen with the flame initially being parallel to the ground — photo by Joseph May

Once the envelope is sufficiently filled with hotter, less dense, air it will be allowed to right itself and it does so gracefully with a linehandler or two manning the crown line to keep the balloon from over rotating due to momentum. As the envelope assumes its full shape the balloon becomes a larger and larger light display which is called, night glow. At first the envelope is amorphous along the ground. Then, with each blast from the burner it takes form — with each blast producing a different night glow image for the lucky spectator 🙂

— photo by Joseph May

The night glow of the Freedom Federal balloon flown by Colvin Rouse of Sport Balloons, Inc. during 1978 in Tampa FL — photo by Joseph May

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