This illustration shows a high-altitude balloon ascending into the upper atmosphere. When fully inflated, these balloons are 400 feet (150 meters) wide, or about the size of a football stadium, and reach an altitude of 130,000 feet (24.6 miles or 40 kilometers)InternationalIndiaAfricaThe unusual occurrence unfolded in Illinois when employees with Todd’s Tire and Auto alerted off-duty Police Chief Bruce Franks to the peculiar spectacle that had gathered a curious crowd.A baffling sighting temporarily left the town of Prophetstown, Illinois, in awe as local police scrambled to unravel the mystery behind a mysterious object spotted hovering in broad daylight. Although the US National Weather Service earlier denied launching any weather balloons in the vicinity that would have explained the sighting, it later turned out the mysterious object was a stratospheric balloon owned and operated by South Dakota Aerostar Company, US media reported.
"Thunderhead Balloon Systems serve various purposes including extending communications across wide distances, environmental monitoring, earth observation, and scientific research," reads the company's statement, submitted to local media.
However, the company did not disclose the purpose of the attention-grabbing balloon.Eyewitness accounts initially described the enigmatic object as a balloon-like structure connected to a box, emitting intermittent red lighting. What made this sighting even more perplexing was the fact that the object remained motionless in the sky for an extended period, leaving onlookers and authorities puzzled.Beyond PoliticsMysterious Object Found on Australian Beach Identified as Space Debris From Indian Rocket1 August, 02:39 GMTThe latest incident bears some resemblance to a series of teardrop-shaped balloons that sparked speculation about foreign surveillance or UFO activity in Phoenix, Arizona, earlier this year. Those objects were later identified as Thunderhead weather balloons operated by the company Aerostar.