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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- At Launch Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, an unusual view of the Delta II rocket with the THEMIS spacecraft atop gives the solid rocket boosters a "larger than life" appearance as the mobile service tower moves away.  THEMIS, an acronym for Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms, consists of five identical probes that will track violent, colorful eruptions near the North Pole.  This will be the largest number of scientific satellites NASA has ever launched into orbit aboard a single rocket.  The THEMIS mission aims to unravel the mystery behind auroral substorms, an avalanche of magnetic energy powered by the solar wind that intensifies the northern and southern lights.  The mission will investigate what causes auroras in the Earth’s atmosphere to dramatically change from slowly shimmering waves of light to wildly shifting streaks of bright color.  Launch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.  Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- At Launch Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, an unusual view of the Delta II rocket with the THEMIS spacecraft atop gives the solid rocket boosters a "larger than life" appearance as the mobile service tower moves away. THEMIS, an acronym for Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms, consists of five identical probes that will track violent, colorful eruptions near the North Pole. This will be the largest number of scientific satellites NASA has ever launched into orbit aboard a single rocket. The THEMIS mission aims to unravel the mystery behind auroral substorms, an avalanche of magnetic energy powered by the solar wind that intensifies the northern and southern lights. The mission will investigate what causes auroras in the Earth’s atmosphere to dramatically change from slowly shimmering waves of light to wildly shifting streaks of bright color. Launch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

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