Friday, 4 March 2011

ISS and Space Shuttle Discovery - the last rendevous

Inspired by recent images I've seen of the International Space Station taken from Earth, I thought I'd take advantage of the clear night skies we are experiencing at the moment, and have a go at snapping a picture myself. The ISS is easy to spot, and even easier if you use 'heavens-above' web site for latest sightings.

Here's the link - Just enter your location from the database.

I've always enjoyed watching the ISS as it passes majestically overhead. Through binoculars its speed appears spectacular and its glow intensifies brilliantly as it passes directly over the garden, easily dwarfing any stars present. It just makes you feel good every time. And, I've been forcing/showing (?) my kids to see the ISS since they were toddlers. Rushing them down the garden, arms pointing to space and excitedly trying to be the first to spot the ISS clearing the horizon. All very much in the same way as my father did, showing me the Flying Scotsman steam train in the 60's. At 11 and 14 my boys are too 'grown-up' to step out into the garden and view it with me now. Still, my wife joins me - its great to share these things!
Somewhere at the back of the ISS (not the pointy bit) the Space Shuttle Discovery is docked, on its last mission to the station. Facts worth noting (as I forget them myself all the time), the ISS is 80 m wide and is orbiting approx 358 km altitude and travelling at 27,000 kph.

To see how to photograph the ISS properly, have a look at this superb video by a German astronomer:

No comments: