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
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 www.Heavens-Above.com)
||Saturday, 22 October, 2011
||Grantham ( 51.8000°N, 0.5100°E)
||British Summer Time (GMT + 1:00)
||375 x 400 km, 51.6° (Epoch 21 Oct)
|Sun altitude at time of
maximum pass altitude:
|Rises above horizon
|Reaches 10° altitude
||137° (SE )
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