Page last updated at 18:23 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Yorkshire space enthusiast records Earth using balloon

The helium balloons are equipped with a tracking device

Images of the Earth from the edge of space have been captured by a helium balloon which can travel more than 20 miles above sea level.

Robert Harrison, of Highburton, West Yorkshire, developed the device after trying to find a way of taking aerial pictures of his home.

The images are taken by a camera in a box. It is attached to the balloon, with a parachute and tracking device.

The balloon eventually bursts, returns to ground and is traced by Mr Harrison.

Mr Harrison, 38, said the balloon-mounted camera project had cost about £500.

"It is basically an insulated box that contains a camera and a tracking device," he said.

"The box is launched with a parachute and a balloon, and off it goes into the atmosphere.

"The camera records pictures of the earth from about 35km."

Robert Harrison with balloon
Mr Harrison has so far launched about 12 balloons

Mr Harrison said the results had been "phenomenal".

"I could never have expected to get the results I have - you can see the curvature of the Earth, the blackness of space and the thin blue line that makes up the atmosphere," he added.

Mr Harrison, who has launched about 12 balloons, said he developed the balloon project after trying to find a way of getting aerial shots of his home.

"For a hobby I had this remote control helicopter and I wanted to take some pictures of my house using it," he said.

"It very quickly became apparent I could not do it with a helicopter, so I decided on a balloon."

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