DIY balloon camera photos from 90,000 feet

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A group of high school students at Oakland's Youth Radio, a terrific organization that teaches journalism, production, and tech to underserved young people, launched a $69 weather balloon carrying a $5 styrofoam cooler and digital camera to a height of 90,000 feet above the Bay Area. The camera captured this magnificent photo faintly showing the curvature of the Earth. From Youth Radio's Turnstyle news site:

The students planned the launch of the balloon using Google Maps, the CUSF Landing Predictor and terminal area charts of the San Francisco Bay Area. They also programmed the camera to take pictures every couple of seconds , and installed InstaMapper software to track the balloon’s trajectory.

"The Weather Balloon Project"


  1. Yeah, this is really cool and all, and I love seeing the pictures and stuff, but it seems like someone does this every other week or so now.

  2. Yeah it’s done and done and done, but it’s an awesome experience for the kids who do it. I teach at a middle school in Austin, TX and we’re doing it next month. They’re freaking out about it, especially since no one gives two shits about science education these days.

  3. When will we see photos of one of these things getting sucked into the engine of a commercial airliner?

  4. these photos are pretty cool. my favourite example is the space funeral as in this link to a tv show in the UK, which i think is a very goood idea and could be quite commercial.

  5. At first I read it as “a terrific organization that teaches … to undeserved young people,” and I really had to question the logic of the endeavor.

  6. That foggy part stretching to the horizon is the Presidio, otherwise I’d be able to see my house from here.  How do they retrieve their balloon?  That thin stretch of land in the bottom right looks like Panama.

  7. everyone knows that the “curvature of the earth” is a conspiracy between scientists and camera manufacturers!  #curvedenialist

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