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White lights in the sky over Fort Collins turn out to be Google's Project Loon Balloon

Posted at 1:51 PM, Sep 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-02 19:30:44-04

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Many viewers called into the Denver7 newsroom about lights in the sky over Fort Collins on Saturday night. It turns out Google's Project Loon Balloon was making an appearance over Northern Colorado.

The project is working to provide internet access to rural and remote areas using high-altitude balloons. Creator Google X said one of every two people across the globe does not have access to internet currently.

The network of loon balloons travel on the edge of space, designed to help fill in internet coverage gaps and bring people back online after disasters. Even flight tracker picks up the balloons on its radar.

The tennis court-sized balloons are built to survive for more than 100 days in the icy conditions of the stratosphere. They float into the sky by adjusting their altitude to wind speeds and directions.

Users of the service connect to the balloon network using a special antenna attached to their building. The signal travels from the balloon to balloon then back to a ground-based station connected to an internet service provider.

Project Loon got its name after Google itself found the idea of providing internet access to the remaining five billion population unprecedented and even "loony."