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Hampton U gets $10.2M to continue cloud study

HAMPTON, Va. - HAMPTON, Va. (AP) — NASA is giving Hampton University $10.2 million to continue research on mysterious clouds formed by ice that shine brightly at night at the Earth's poles.

The money extends the $140 million contract NASA gave the university in 2002 to build and launch a satellite that collects data on the clouds.

Hampton University's Center for Atmospheric Sciences is trying to find out why the "night shining" clouds form, how they're changing over time and if they're connected to climate change.

Scientists say the clouds form about 50 miles above Earth, while regular clouds are about seven miles above the Earth. Because they're so high, they reflect the sun's light even after it's below the horizon.

The clouds appear during different times of the year in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

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Information from: Daily Press, http://www.dailypress.com

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