Tuesday, May 11, 2010

International Space Station Making Good Flybys Over North America This Week

Coming to a sky near you, the International Space Station (ISS). While it is always up in the sky (obviously), the times line up just right for the ISS to be making some good early evening flybys late enough for dark and early enough so no one should have to stay up much later than usual.

To find ISS flyby times over where you live, go to NASA's website and then select your state, then a nearby city. Upon doing this, a wealth of information will be displayed for your specific location. This data includes: local time, duration of flyby, maximum elevation, degree of first appearance, and degree of disappearance.

With this data, one can plan observations well in advance. The good news is that the ISS is very bright, typically at least -3 magnitude, which is right between Jupiter and Venus. In other words, you can't miss it unless you're standing in a supermarket parking lot.

When sighted, the ISS appears as a white light in the sky that moves slowly (but very clearly) through the sky against the background of fixed stars. Always fun to observe, the ISS can also be photographed with a digital SLR and tripod by following these simple suggestions.

Last but not least, should you decide to shoot the ISS, send the picture to Spaceweather.com, they already have a gallery going.

Want to see what the ISS looks like caught on camera? Go to my astrophoto archive and browse around, as there are sure to be some Shuttle/ISS pictures in there.

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