Tag Archive: astronauts

Live near DC? Be sure to check out the sky at 10:11 pm tonight.



PRESS RELEASE from National Capital Astronomers


Friday evening, June 21st, the International Space Station will fly high above the National Capital area, very likely becoming the brightest object in the sky, except the Moon. Weather permitting, the space station should be easily seen using just the naked eye. Even if numerous clouds are present, the station is now so bright that she can be dramatic between clouds, or behind light cloud.

ISS will rise between the WNW and the northwest about 10:11 pm EDT, moving up and slightly to the left. About 4 minutes later, very high in the southwest, she will culminate at about 68 degrees over azimuth 219. About 2 seconds later, ISS will pass about 1 degree above the very bright star, Arcturus, alpha Bootis. About 42 seconds later, she will pass about 20 degrees above the Moon in the SSE, being about 47 degrees altitude above azimuth 157 degrees. About 14 seconds later, ISS will disappear into the shadow of the Earth, being about 40 degrees above 151 degrees. 

It is not possible to give the exact time of the passage, but there is an excellent chance that these times are within just a very few minutes of the actual flyover. 

ISS will appear as a bright moving point, perhaps similar in appearance to a distant airliner. Very distant, as she will come no closer than 279 miles, and will be moving 5 miles per second.
Credit is due to the Flight Dynamics Office of the Johnson Space Center for supplying data used in producing these indications of visibility.


Watch the ISS fly by today!

iss2_sts114Friday afternoon, December 14th, the ISS will fly high above the National Capital (DC) area, likely becoming the brightest object in the sky. The space station should be easily seen with the naked eye, even if there’s light cloud cover. ISS will appear as a bright moving point, perhaps similar in appearance to a distant airliner. Very distant, as she will come no closer than 318 miles, and will be moving 5 miles per second.

ISS will rise in the W/SW sky about 5:43 pm EST, moving up and to the right. About a minute later, she will pass about 11 degrees right of the very thin Moon at a low altitude. About two minutes later, she will be due West at an altitude of 35 degrees. A minute later, she will culminate fairly high in the northwest. Two minutes after culminating, ISS will disappear into the shadow of the Earth low in the northeastern sky.

It is not possible to give exact times of the passage, but these times should be plus/minus just a few minutes of the actual flyover. If you’re outside no later than 5:40pm and hang out for 10 minutes, you likely can’t miss it.

On a personal note, I’ve witnessed this flyover a couple of times. She looks like a bright sphere, kinda like a UFO. It is awe-inspiring to see for ourselves that we’re up there!

If you want to see the schedule for upcoming flyovers, you can enter your zip code here and get the local times to eye the sky.

Source: Internal email from NASA (not confidential)
Image from Astronomy Picture of the Day by NASA

Scratch the dehydrated crap, Dragon delivered real, chocolate/vanilla swirl ice cream to the ISS crewCommander Williams (pictured) shared with the Japanese and Russian astronauts.



The irony of fire-breathing Dragon carrying ice cream in its belly doesn’t take away from the ‘aww’ factor.

Scientific Chicago

The Dragon capsule and rocket Falcon 9 made a successful launch from Cape Canaveral last night. Now the capsule is currently playing the role of “It” in a celestial game of tag, chasing down the International Space Station to deliver cargo.

Since the ISS is constantly in orbit, circling the entire globe in 91.5 minutes, the Dragon capsule has to spend the next few days catching up.

This is good news for stargazers. As the capsule gets closer and closer, you’ll be able to see two specs streak across the early night and pre-dawn sky (you can’t see satellites in the middle of the night because they need to reflect the sun to be seen. If the sun is on the other side of the Earth, we block the rays from hitting the satellite).

If you want to know where and when you can see the ISS or the Dragon…

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