Friday, November 20, 2009

See ISS and Shuttle Atlantis Over Your Neighborhood

ISS and Endeavour (2)
Originally uploaded by Mully410

The Space Shuttle Atlantis is currently docked with the International Space Station. There is a very good sighting opportunity on Saturday November 21st for us in Minnesota anyway. At 5:18pm CST, this pair will become visible in the North North Western sky, just a little bit "right" of the bright star Arcturus. Follow the arc of the Big Dipper's handle to the left and you'll find Arcturus. Over the next 10 minutes, Atlantis and ISS will proceed towards the east, through the Big Dipper asterism, under the North Star, Polaris, and will disappear just as they pass the star Capella.

You won't be able to see any detail of the structures. To us on the ground, the ISS looks like a bright star that is streaking across the sky at about 17,500 miles per hour. Click the picture above to ebbiggen a two second exposure I took of ISS while shuttle Endeavour was docked earlier this year. My whole set from that fly over is here.

Since you are already outside, take a look south. The biggest star like object you can see is Jupiter. If you have a decent set of binoculars you should be able to make our 4 of its moons.

If you aren't in Minnesota or want to verify the sighting times in your area, go the JPL's Human Space Flight - Realtime Data site. You'll need JAVA to use the applet.

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