University students capture stunning images of Earth

Physics students from the University of Leicester have captured breathtaking images of the Earth’s stratosphere using a high altitude weather balloon.

The unmanned balloon and sensor payload reached an altitude of 23.6km - 1.7 times higher than a 747 airliner can be operated at.

The payload filmed cloud tops and the curvature of the earth in conditions close to a vacuum and temperatures of around -56C. It then descended quickly to Earth reaching a maximum speed of over 100mph.

The launch took place in December near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, and the payload was recovered in Warwickshire.

The sensor payload captured the curvature of the earth in temperatures of around -56C. Credit: University of Leicester

The flight also tested electronic control systems for future pollution monitoring flights and advanced navigational systems.