AUSTIN (KXAN) — Research students from St. Edward’s University launched balloons Friday to study ozone air quality. The university has continued this project for nearly 20 years.

Dr. Paul Walter, an Associate Professor of Physics, said the university received a special assignment Friday from the National Weather Service.

“The National Weather Service reached out to us [Friday], and they asked if we could do a sounding because there’s a chance of severe weather,” Walter said.

The balloon was launched at 1:15 p.m. Friday on the north side of the Mary Moody Northen Theatre by the university.

“The device we just launched is called a radiosonde. It measures pressure, temperature, relative humidity and the winds,” Walter said. “And so, it gives them important information about the vertical profile of the atmosphere.”

The project was established in 2004, and since then, teams have released more than a thousand balloons.