ISS flyover for Youngsters

Posted by XTSee on 23rd October , 2011

Last night a friend and her two daughters aged 10 and 12 came to stay with us for a few days with my wife for some girly shopping as they are on their half term break, and being as their dad wasn’t able to come this time, I was left to do my own thing and so I set up my telescope in the garden before it got too dark. The early evening sky was looking very promising, completely cloud free and quite bright.

While setting up the scope in the dusk I noticed a bright light coming up over the horizon, and immediately recognised it’s fast, silent approach as being the International Space Station, so I dashed indoors and said to the girls that if they wanted to see the ISS they would need to hurry.

At first they were not keen as they thought it meant looking through the telescope out in the cold, but I said, no, you’ve only got about 1 minute to see this!

So they ran outside and watched its Jupiter-size bright light move across the sky, and then slowly wane and disappear into the earths shadow as I explained what it was, and how big it was, how high up it was and that there were several astronauts inside it.

For young girls they were “kind of” impressed, but when we went back inside I fired up the laptop and Googled some images showing an external view of the ISS, and then went to Youtube to show them a video tour of the inside of the space station.

That did the trick! It gave them a real “Wow” moment of what it was they had just witnessed.

International Space Station

International Space Station

Later after tea, I went back out to enjoy a nice nights observing, but by the time I had done a 3-star alignment on my C6-SGT scope, as Sods Law would have it, a thin layer of cloud had rolled in. From clear sky to complete cover in just 10 minutes. Groan!!

Despite waiting an hour or so to see if the sky would improve, the clouds just got thicker and thicker and I ended up packing everything away again. So frustrating.

Oh well, at least we had seen the Space Station.

Pass Details (from

Date: Saturday, 22 October, 2011
Satellite: ISS
Observer’s Location: Grantham ( 51.8000°N, 0.5100°E)
Local Time: British Summer Time (GMT + 1:00)
Orbit: 375 x 400 km, 51.6° (Epoch 21 Oct)
Sun altitude at time of
maximum pass altitude:
Event Time Altitude Azimuth Distance (km)
Rises above horizon 19:39:59 253° (WSW) 2,260
Reaches 10° altitude 19:42:01 10° 252° (WSW) 1,416
Maximum altitude 19:45:10 72° 168° (SSE) 413
Enters shadow 19:45:20 70° 137° (SE ) 419
Did you like this? Share:

4 Responses to “ISS flyover for Youngsters”

  1. dexro (1 comments)

    ISS is a Wow thing, maybe the wowest of them all.

  2. XTSee (25 comments)

    You’re right Dexro, interesting blog you’ve got there.

  3. Hookahs for sale (1 comments)

    ISS flyover is really amazing dude…wow

  4. telescope reviews (1 comments)

    That picture is sick. The ISS is huge. just wow. nice blog going there.

Leave a Reply

Comments links could be nofollow free.