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Old 02-20-2012, 08:48 AM   #1
CanadaSue
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Default 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."
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:38 AM   #2
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We were stargazing last night too. Not much light pollution from the nearby town to mess up the view. We saw ISS as well, but it wasn't in our Northern sky. It was to the Southwest. We were looking for the North star but never settled on just which one it was. I didn't anyway. BG might have.
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:50 PM   #3
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Cool, i watched it some night. Enjoying a bright dot moving & musing.

I do wonder about the work they do up there.

We are beyond just looking at the effects of weightlessness on people (they eat their tea with chopsticks...) so they must do all kinds of other interesting research stuff?
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:19 PM   #4
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Here's the viewing schedule & track - just plug in your city:

http://spaceflight1.nasa.gov/realdat...ngs/index.html
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:26 PM   #5
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Cool. It's around here quite a lot with some 3 to 4 minute passages. In the end it's down to the clouds which tend to get in the way.
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