Thursday, November 26, 2009

The ISS and Shuttle Atlantis passes. Look again tonight!

Last night, the Shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Shuttle passed over Southwest Virginia. They were separated by 7 seconds in this 15 second time exposure. Their actual separation was about 30 miles and they were over 220 miles away. The image shows the pair as they are either entering or are about to enter the Earth's shadow. Pesky air traffic give the other streaks.

Atlantis is scheduled to pass this evening. Look low in the west-northwest at 6:42 p.m. It sweeps to the southwest and by 6:46 it disappears in the Earth's shadow low in the south. It passes just below bright Jupiter at about 6:45.

Such is our view from Earth ...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ISS/Shuttle Atlantis update

At the moment, it looks like the shuttle will land before Friday's pass of the International Space Station. This evening, though, should give an interesting configuration. Very possibly, the ISS and the Shuttle will each be visible with one of them following the other by a few seconds. So far, their predicted passing time has not changed.

Such is our view from Earth ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The International Space Station — Space Shuttle Atlantis

This week sees several passes of the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle Atlantis. The two best opportunities for people in southwest Virginia to view this orbiting duo are on Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Wednesday's pass begins at 6:18 p.m. Look low in the northwest for a slow moving starlike object. As it moves high in the northeast (not quite overhead), it brightens significantly becoming much brighter than the planet Jupiter. (Jupiter is the bright object far in the south.) It passes then through the "W" shaped constellation, Cassiopeia. By 6:21, it moves high in the east where it enters the Earth's shadow and subsequently disappears.

Friday's pass follows a similar path as Wednesday's. Beginning at 5:33 p.m., look low in the northwest, again for a slowly moving starlike object. Follow it high in the northeast as it brightens, again becoming brighter than Jupiter. It disappears from view as it sinks low in the east-southeast at 5:33 p.m.

Such is our view from Earth ...