Spotting The Station
Six fifteen last night & I step outside with SO. It's hovering around freezing, a bit damp & it's a bright, clear evening. In the fading western light, stars are seemingly popping into existence. It's calm & quiet, just the faintest of human noises nearby, the hollow echo of traffic passing on a highway about a mile away barely audible.
We align ourselves, looking west, northwest about 'halfway up the sky'. I look at my watch - it's six twenty. We wait; SO taking one corner of that part of the sky, me taking the other. Six twenty two & I get a little anxious - nothing. "There it is!" SO exclaims & points. Sure enough - there it is - right on time, right on track. The ISS magestically sailing across the northern sky, beautifully backlit by the just set sun & as bright as any of the planets & stars in the vicinity.
It's been many, many months since I've seen & that's been just by chance. I have an ISS tracker now - plug in your city & it will give you a viewing schedule, only noting dates & times when it passes at night & high enough off the horizon to be seen. I'm a child of the space age - seeing such a thing; something WE as a species put up in orbit still gives me a real thrill.
"On the shoulders of giants..." How many countless people worked - together, individually, even against each other, to enable us to put ISS above us? It makes me feel humble & small. It makes me feel proud. It makes me feel sad that we're no longer working hard to reach even further. It's just so danged awesome to be able to look up & think: "No matter how badly we can mess thhings up down here - we did THAT."
Don't die a virgin. Terrorists up there are waiting for you.