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Author Topic: I seen the International Space Station last night!  (Read 1812 times)

Offline GlentoranMark

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OK so not a question but Astronomy related. Mods can move if you don't feel it's suitable.

Anyway, we've had clear skies over the past couple of nights in the UK and especially in glorious Northern Ireland.

Thanks to the very excellent and free Stellarium program with the optional satellite add-on, I was able to look in advance at where the ISS would be at any given time. Just after dusk last night at 8.50pm I knew the station would pass very close to the star Altair, in Aquila the Eagle. I know Altair is a very bright star in my southern sky but I'm in a very light polluted part of Belfast and the haze and brightness of the sky made the star hard to find.

While I was looking for Altair, I noticed a bright light to the far right moving smoothly across the sky. First impressions were it was an aeroplane but on further inspection it followed the same path as the ISS and passed very close to Altair just as I expected.

What really impressed me was the brightness of it. It was clearly visible in an otherwise very bright sky. I followed it for approximately 5 minutes before it became too low on my horizon to observe.

About 90 minutes later it was due back. Just as I expected, I seen it in the West and it was due again to pass by Altair. Again it was very bright, its hard to judge magnitudes but it was definitely brighter than Altair and Vega which I could compare it too and probably as bright as Jupiter when I seen it in the sky later (Magnitude -2?). I had my telescope and webcam set up this time to film it as it passed by the star but while I was looking at my netbook, the ISS suddenly vanished!

It took me a minute or so to realise that it had went into the Earths shadow and unfortunately I couldn't pick it up and missed my photo opportunity. I'm now hooked however and I'm going to try and photograph any I can see. Google is a great thing for finding info on what you see so it's really interesting.

If any of the staff are reading this, perhaps you could do a feature on satellites?



 

Offline Mr. F

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I seen the International Space Station last night!
« Reply #1 on: 03/09/2010 18:01:13 »
Last nights magnitude was an extremely bright -3.4 from my location. If you use Twitter then follow @twisst and you will receive a daily tweet telling you time, bearing and magnitude of the ISS for your location each night.
 

Offline GlentoranMark

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I seen the International Space Station last night!
« Reply #2 on: 04/09/2010 10:25:58 »
Many thanks for that link. I do use twitter occasionally. It's interesting stuff and I was well impressed by the sighting.
 

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I seen the International Space Station last night!
« Reply #2 on: 04/09/2010 10:25:58 »

 

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