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Discussion Starter #1
Here is a link to find out when the International Space Station is going by in your area of the world.

http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/index.cfm#.U1Syj1VdUvl

Once you enter where you are here's some things I thought might be helpful to spot the dot of light going by.:)

I like to pick a night to see it go by when it will reach a high "Max Height" listed as a degree in the chart.

Zero degree is the horizon. 90 degrees is the point directly over your head, known as zenith. For example: 45 degrees Max Height would mean the station would reach its highest point in the sky half way between the horizon, and your zenith.

In the column marked "Appears" the number tells you how high up in the sky the station will first appear, and which direction to look. And, in the column marked "Disappears", how high up in the sky the station will disappear, and in which direction.

Note: the station will most likely appear, and disappear above the horizon as it passes from shadow into sunlight, then back to shadow. One will only see it when it is in sunlight. But again, that number in the "Appears" column will give you a general idea where to look when it appears from seemingly nowhere. Keep an eye on the time. Those NASA guys are usually pretty accurate.

It may help to know that an out stretched hand from the tip of your thumb to the little finger is approx. 20-25 degrees. That's holding your hand out parallel to the horizon.

The station is traveling at about 17,000 miles per hour, (five miles per second!). So it only takes a few minutes, at the most, to see it go by. If you were living in the station you would see a sunrise, and set, about 15 times in 24 hr. period.


About 230 miles, (370 km) altitude. Station is the largest man made object in space, and it's not really that high up, compared to some other satellites. So it's pretty easy to spot once you know when, and where to look.

Wishing everyone clear skies.
 

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Last year I tried catching it in my telescope at low magnification. I did catch a couple glimpses of it, but couldn't make out much detail. That thing moves FAST!

BTW, the width of my hand stretched out against the horizon is only about 10 degrees. :)
 

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Years ago, I was at this bar in Rice university in Houston, TX that's located in the basement of their chemistry building or something like that one early evening (the thought had intrigued me as some of my friends were in med school in the area so they took me there to check it out).

Anyway, these two older nerds -- one looked like the prof and the other his grad school lackey come tearing across the lawn.. jumping benches while constantly looking up. This didn't seem like a good idea to me b/c they didn't look like the most athletic trail runners I've ever seen.

As they pass by they yelled to look up and the professor gave us a quick 15sec lecture about how that speeding dot was not a plane but the ISS.

Kind of interesting; I was also surprised by how fast it zoomed by.
I guess this was the nerds' main exercise.

-g
 

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Yep it moves.

The International Space Station travels in orbit around Earth at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour (that's about 5 miles per second). This means that the Space Station orbits Earth (and sees a sunrise) once every 92 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Last year I tried catching it in my telescope at low magnification. I did catch a couple glimpses of it, but couldn't make out much detail. That thing moves FAST!

BTW, the width of my hand stretched out against the horizon is only about 10 degrees. :)
A good size pair of binoculars would probably be better than trying to track it with a telescope.

I had to take a second look at how many degrees an out stretched hand is... Thanks for the heads up. :D



S4gunn said:
I guess this was the nerds' main exercise.
Funny story. I can actually see those two nerds running. :eek:

ThunderChecken said:
The International Space Station travels in orbit around Earth at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour (that's about 5 miles per second). This means that the Space Station orbits Earth (and sees a sunrise) once every 92 minutes.
What's rather humbling to consider is that even at that speed it would take a ship about 165,000 years to reach the Centauri star system. Proxima Centauri being the closest star to our Sun.
 

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It's amazing to me how big it looks from here.

I got to see the various shuttles over the years; they look like little V's.

The hubble is cool looking, and very visible.

Skylab was really cool; at my maximum (usable) magnification, you could just see the X of the solar array. :)


Yes, I was the kid who wondered why I couldn't see the astronauts on the moon with my 4" telescope. :D

I got to see both a Saturn Launch, and a Shuttle launch, both were freaking incredible!
 

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I got to see both a Saturn Launch, and a Shuttle launch, both were freaking incredible!
That must have been one heck of an experience. Best I saw was an Atlas launch, oh, 15 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Grog6 said:
I got to see both a Saturn Launch, and a Shuttle launch, both were freaking incredible!
To me that would have been a life changing experience. Esp. the Saturn V launch.

Here is a video of hands down my favorite Saturn V launch.


That launch pad area reached a temp. as high as 5,800*F.

Each of the F1 engines produced 1.65 million lbs. of thrust. That equates to 38 million horsepower in terms of units of work.

And there were five (5) engines that together produced a peak of 190 million horse power. That is more horsepower than 63 Hoover Dams.

The Saturn V rocket is the only manned spacecraft to leave Earth's orbit. It needed to reach a speed of ~25,000 mph to escape the gravity well of the planet, or about seven miles per second, Mach 32.8.
 

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The Saturn Launch was way louder than the shuttle, even tho I was closer for the Shuttle.

I believe it was Apollo 12; my Dad was in college with one of the astronauts' brother.

It's hard to ask anyone now when it was; they're all gone now, long ago.

He got a copy of the microfilms they left, and weaselled his name onto the list on names on one of them. :)

One of them is a Bible; I believe all the Apollo missions left a copy of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
The Saturn Launch was way louder than the shuttle, even tho I was closer for the Shuttle.

I believe it was Apollo 12; my Dad was in college with one of the astronauts' brother.

It's hard to ask anyone now when it was; they're all gone now, long ago.

He got a copy of the microfilms they left, and weaselled his name onto the list on names on one of them. :)

One of them is a Bible; I believe all the Apollo missions left a copy of it.

Yeah! Good ole 60's American technology. Give it a big enough engine, and we can make a brick fly. The SR-71, X-15, a black on black '68 Dodge Charger 426, Huey choppers, Hendrix, and no speed limits to Vegas!

Bible on the moon. Awesome.
 

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Thing is, 45 years later and we've still not gone back. I think a lot of that is the average human has no idea how amazing it is/was to do this.
 

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We baby boomer's have lived thought some of mans amazing times....for sure.

I read not long ago that a F1 engine was going to be raised from the ocean and NASA wanted it back ....

......That was then..not sure about now .
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thing is, 45 years later and we've still not gone back. I think a lot of that is the average human has no idea how amazing it is/was to do this.

There are more people in the world alive today who were not alive during the Apollo missions, than there are people who are still alive since the Apollo missions.

Some say that humanity reached its pinnacle of aerospace technology in the 60's. I reply with two words...Elon Musk.

Humans will go back to the moon, and Mars within your lifetime Brandon. For curiosity far exceeds thoughts of limitations.

ThunderChecken said:
I read not long ago that a F1 engine was going to be raised from the ocean and NASA wanted it back ....
Here is a link I think we all will find interesting.

http://www.bezosexpeditions.com/updates.html
 

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Discussion Starter #15

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Nasa news on the iss.....

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/#.U1yWzFVdWFs

Haven't spotted the iss since I started this post.
I have seen it quite a few times.

We'll try again tomorrow. It's only going to skim the horizon over Dodge tomorrow night. Although it might shine bright coming from the WSW low like that. But, cloud cover could again be a bummer.

It's kind'a fun to venture out in the early night to see if you can see it. It's fun with other people like kids, and family. Diff. remember to spot the station camping this summer!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Overcast here all day. Windy.

...We'll spot some other night.
 

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Spotted ISS at approx. 5:50 ante meridiem this Tue. morning Central Time. Sighted from a location on Earth at 37.7597° N, 100.0183° W; or what is commonly referred to as my backyard.

First sight, right on time, coming outta' the NW heading NE at ~17.5k mph, and last sight 2.6 min. later as it disappeared into sunlight.

At this time of morning the sky was already turning blue. Only 1st magnitude stars were visible. No mistaking the ISS. It looks like a star moving in a very straight undisturbed line across the sky. Easy to tell it's moving much faster than a jet. I have seen many satellites. The ISS is diff. the brightest.
 

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Years ago, before I lived in the city, I used to drive out on some random country roads so I could get away from as much light pollution as possible. Then, using my telescope and binoculars, I would discover the most humbling and jaw-dropping views in the nighttime sky. Nothing compares to viewing Saturn's rings or Jupiter's moons in real-time with your own optical equipment.

When I grew tired of fiddling around with the telescope, I would lay on the windshield/hood of the Cougar and stare at the Zenith, waiting for my peripheral vision to detect satellites and meteors. It was a way to connect with the grand scale of things and truly disregard the trivial and unimportant speed bumps in day-to-day life.

I once saw the space station just after dusk and it was simply unreal. At first, it looked like an approaching aircraft with its landing lights on. It certainly does reflect a lot of light.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I remember taking small trips with my telescope on a new moon, and clear skies. Red lenses on flashlights trying to take pictures of Saturn using a refracting telescope w/off axis guider, clock, and an SLR with hyper-sensitized 35mm film. Kind'a like a fishing trip only we were after stars and camp fires.

I'm hoping to camp this year during the Persied meteor shower in Aug.. It can put on quite a show. At peak times I've seen this shower produce a meteor every few seconds. Like star wars laser blasters going off every which way. Meteor fragmentation where you can actually see bits break apart. And those iridescent welding spark colored ionized tails that last a few seconds. Even multiple strikes at the same time right over head streaking by! Lots of oo's and ahs from the crowd.
 
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