NASA / Berit Bland

For all you early risers on the Mid-Atlantic coast (New York to North Carolina and westward through Charlottesville, Virginia), the sky is likely to light up red or green between 4:27am and 4:42am Thursday. But don't freak: NASA is launching a two-stage Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket to enhance scientists' ability to study the ionosphere and aurora, and that's going to cause the color change.

What a sounding rocket is: A canister-filled rocket — there's 10 canisters to be exact, each about the size of a soft drink can. Each will be deployed about four to five minutes after launch, giving a view of vapor tracers that are formed when barium, strontium, and cupric oxide interact at 96 to 124 miles high.

Watch: If you're up but not outside, watch it here.

Go deeper

Trump says he wants 9 justices in case Supreme Court must decide 2020 election

President Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that part of his urgency to quickly push through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is that he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump claimed at the Republican National Convention that the only way he will lose the election is if it is "rigged," and he has declined to say whether he would accept the results of November's election if he loses to Joe Biden.

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

The state of play: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

Judge orders Eric Trump to testify in New York probe before election

Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

A judge on Wednesday ordered Eric Trump to comply with a subpoena to testify before the presidential election in a New York probe into the Trump family business.

The state of play: New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) last month said her office had filed a lawsuit to compel the Trump Organization to comply with subpoenas related to an investigation into whether President Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of its assets on financial statements.

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