Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wanna spy on the Astronauts?

There will be a special treat for sky watchers this week. The International Space Station (ISS) should be visible this week in the skies. The best time to catch it is within the first 45 to 90 minutes after sunset. Or if you are an early riser ( bless your heart ) about the same amount of time before sunrise. It can be seen because the sun light is reflected off of it against a darkening sky It will be visible all night but those times are best because there will be fewer stars shining brightly to obscure the view. It should be easy to spot because it is one of the few "moving stars.” The ISS is by far the largest and most brilliant of all the man-made objects orbiting the Earth about once every 91 minutes. The Space Station is circling the Earth at an average altitude of 240 miles and at a speed of 18,000 mph, it can appear to move as fast as a high-flying jet airliner, taking four or five minutes to cross the sky.
The station is big more than four times as large as the historic Russian Mir space station It measures 356 feet across and 290 feet long, and has almost an acre of solar panels to provide electrical power.


Theophilus said...

Ooh cool! Can we see it from Europe?
*sour face* it'll probably be cloudy all week though. Grrr

Phika said...

There I go again commenting as my dad

Charles said...

Phika, You are in a great location. On the 18th around 9:45 is your earliest best chance. About two - three fists above the horizon moving across the sky. If you miss it try again in 91 minutes and so on. You should be able to see it naked eye unless there are too many lights around.

Other nights start about 30-45 minutes later.

good luck