(Manmade) Star Gazing

Marcia and I usually go out and sit in the hot tub at night, and on clear nights watch the stars, the planets, the planes (low and high) and sometimes, manmade satellites. There’s a great page the NASA runs here that allows you to input your local zip code and time, and see which of the larger, more visible man-made satellites are going to be flying over in the near future. (That link currently takes you to a page with my settings pre-selected. You will need to change it for yours). The International Space Station is by far and away the most dramatic and visible thing in the sky after the Sun, Moon, Jupiter, Venus and Sirius. It’s about a -1.0 Magnitude “star” (if that means anything to anybody who’s not an astronomy buff) . . . except that it clips along at an amazing rate. Tonight’s an interesting night in that we get two easily visible passes. I was just out 20 minutes or so ago and had a great, long viewing. There’s another one around 10:20 tonight, and then tomorrow we get the best kind: one of the ones that passes directly across or near the zenith of the sky, the spot directly above us. It’s pretty darn cool to watch it cross the entire sky in 10 minutes or so. I love that space travel stuff.

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