Under clear skies that must have made it visible throughout much of Florida, a Delta IV Heavy rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral early Sunday morning sending the Parker Solar Probe to the sun to explore the mysteries of how stars work.

“All I can say is, ‘Wow, here we go,’” said 91-year-old scientist Eugene Parker after he watched the space probe bearing his name head out toward exploring solar mysteries he first revealed 60 years ago. “We’re in the … learning mode over the next several years.”

The United Launch Alliance rocket blasted off on time at 3:31 a.m. and climbed flawlessly through the Earth’s atmosphere. Its three stages of rocket boosters all fired and fell away, and the spacecraft left orbit, heading for its three and a half month journey to the sun, 93 million miles away.

Sunday’s launch, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, came on the second try. NASA got the launch countdown to under two minutes early Saturday morning before a minor glitch with a gaseous helium level forced the agency to scrub the attempt.

There were no such glitches reported Sunday morning.

As the rocket

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