Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lost in Space

Yesterday was our annual neighborhood block party. It's always fun to get together with neighbors and catch up on what's going on in our lives. There's always some good food involved.

As the afternoon wore into evening we continued our discussions. Our neighbors Debbie and Tom said, "It's almost time for the show."

Show? What show?

"The International Space Station."


It seems that Debbie found a site that allows you to track the orbit of the space station. It gives you the time and location in the sky where the space station will pass over.

OK. I never realized that you could watch the space station. I've laid on my back and stared at the night sky before. If you look continually at a point in the night sky you'll eventually see what appears to be a distant star moving. It will actually be one of the many satellites that orbit the earth. I can't say that I'd ever seen the space station.

Tom said, "It will appear there in the north/northwest sky at 8:20. You'll be very surprised at how bright it is and how fast it moves."

We gathered a whole group of people and Bill turned off his porch light so that it would be dark. Right on cue the space station appeared. It's visible because of the sunlight that is being reflected off it's surface.

It's very bright, as large and bright as Venus. And it's hauling butt across the sky. I mean it's really moving. I think they said it travels at 19,000 miles an hour. Can that be right?

I think I've found a new addiction - watching the space station travel across the night sky!

I think kids (big or small) will be very interested in doing this activity. You can check the schedule in the morning and just walk outside in the evening and watch it pass over.

Thanks Tom and Debbie! Now I'm lost in space.

Click on the link. Enter your country. If it's the U.S. it will ask you for the state and then bring up a menu where you can choose the closest city. The chart will tell you the exact time it will appear.....sometimes twice in one evening. At the bottom there's another chart that gives information for tracking the space shuttle, if there's one in orbit. During the time of docking or undocking you can see both, one appearing to chase the other. Fascinating! As for me, I'm going to be outside tonight at 8:45 to watch the show.

Have fun with this.



scmom (Barbara) said...

That is a very cool tidbit. Thanks!

Kitty said...

We saw the space station a few weeks ago but I didn't realize that it was visable all the time. I thought it was very cool to be able to see it. Thanks for the link to check on its whereabouts. I love the night sky and wish we were out where we could see it better.

P.S. Love the pics of your cutie dogs! We used to take our chihuahua on vacation. She's been gone many years now but was a good little dog. She looked like your brown one.

Farmchick said...

Interesting info. I also love the pics of the dogs.

Jody Blue said...

Thanks for the "new fun thing to do"


You are the best event planner ever!

Patricia said...

Thanks so much for telling us !

My son is going to love this - we'll be out there tonight at 8:36 pm !!

Mary Rex said...

What a great way to impress unsuspecting friends! Anything astronomical usually does the trick. Very few people (except for my brother with his telescope)know what is going on up there that is actually visible to the naked eye! Thanks for the tip.