Wheeling, W.Va. (WTRF) – For over 60 years, the National Weather Service and meteorologists across the United States have used weather balloons unlike the one you see above to gather upper air soundings, also known as Radiosonde.

NWS Releasing Radiosonde

This balloon allows weather personnel to study the atmosphere and its condition whether stable or unstable.

Officials suggest that the balloon was from China and drifted into our airspace, but was to be used to gather weather information much like a meteorologist would use in America today.

Although not yet confirmed, sources suggest otherwise.

This was ultimately the U.S. military’s reason for engaging on the balloon, and ultimately bringing it down just off the coast of the Carolinas.

Radiosonde going up up & away

With the spy balloon first being spotted over Billings, Montana on Thursday, February 2, it was easily mistaken as a radiosonde from the NWS.

After later being confirmed by the NWS that the spy balloon was in fact not their equipment, other speculations were brought forward as it made its journey over much of northern U.S.

StormTracker7 Meteorologist Tyler Vangi