<p dir="ltr">On Friday, September 6, millions of sky-watchers along the eastern coast of North America were treated to spectacular views of the <a href="http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/06/watch-nasas-moon-launch-tonight-from-the-east-coast/">late-night launch of NASA's LADEE moon mission</a> from Wallop's Flight Facility in Virginia.</p><p dir="ltr">The 80-foot (24-meter) Minotaur V rocket appears to light up the sky and the clouds in this composite shot from Point Lookout State Park in Maryland.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong></strong></p><p dir="ltr">Sitting on top of the retrofitted ICBM missile is the car-size, scientific orbiter called the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), which is designed to examine the structure and composition of the moon's tenuous atmosphere and determine what role lunar dust plays in the environment.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong></strong></p><p dir="ltr">Mission results are expected to help unlock many similar long-standing mysteries seen on Mercury, asteroids, and even moons of outer planets.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>—Andrew Fazekas</em></p>

Soaring Moon Shot

On Friday, September 6, millions of sky-watchers along the eastern coast of North America were treated to spectacular views of the late-night launch of NASA's LADEE moon mission from Wallop's Flight Facility in Virginia.

The 80-foot (24-meter) Minotaur V rocket appears to light up the sky and the clouds in this composite shot from Point Lookout State Park in Maryland.

Sitting on top of the retrofitted ICBM missile is the car-size, scientific orbiter called the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), which is designed to examine the structure and composition of the moon's tenuous atmosphere and determine what role lunar dust plays in the environment.

Mission results are expected to help unlock many similar long-standing mysteries seen on Mercury, asteroids, and even moons of outer planets.

—Andrew Fazekas

Composite photograph by Mike Holso

Stunning Photos of NASA's Nighttime Moon Launch

Sky-watchers on the eastern coast of North America were treated to spectacular views of the late-night launch of NASA's LADEE moon mission.

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