Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Weather Balloon Retrieval
Name:  Bob
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 

We have found a weather balloon and it's transmitter. We were trying to find out where it came from and the distance it may have traveled. Any information would be appreciated. There are numbers on the unit that read, Vaisala RS92_AM D1233747. These are the only identifying numbers on the unit. Thanks in advance, Bob

The Vasala radiosonde that you found is used by a number of organizations, including the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurements program in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Since you live in Washington state, it's likely that the radiosonde was launched by a NWS station somewhere upwind of you, either in Washington or Oregon most likely. These packages and balloons can travel as much as 300 miles, although it's likely that the launch site was within 100 miles of where you found the package.

Unfortunately, there's no easy way to determine the exact location of launch from the serial number of the sonde, as they are bought in bulk and distributed to the NWS offices. Each office probably keeps records of the serial numbers that are used, so you could try calling offices within 100 miles and ask them if they launched the package that you have have.

You can find the locations of NWS offices at

David R. Cook
Climate Research Section
Environmental Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory

Click here to return to the Weather Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory