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Spot the Space Station!!

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posted on May, 30 2016 @ 10:38 PM
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I only discovered this recently, though I wouldn't be surprised if it has been shared on ATS before. If it's a recent duplicate, my apologies. If not, I hope bringing this up allows several other people to geek out a bit as I have



NASA has a really easy to use link which provides time and location in the sky of visible transits of the ISS (International Space Station) for any location worldwide. Enter country, state/province, city (or nearest available) and it will give you the upcoming "schedule" of times and locations. Here's the link: Spot the Station Link; below is my story to go with it.

I just gave it a go for the first time. It showed the station would next be visible starting at 9:46PM, 11° above West, with a 5 minute transit ending at 11° above North-East, with a max inclination of 58°.

I had mentioned it to my son (almost 4) earlier, and wanted to see if I'd be able to spot it before giving it a try with him tomorrow. He was winding down, getting ready to sleep, so i snuck out the front door where i have my clearest view West. The sky was clear, and sure enough, right on cue, there it was, right where it was supposed to come into view! Couldn't let him fall asleep. I came back in, "Hey buddy! Want to see the space station?!" Son - "yeah, let's go! I'm ready!!" I scooped him up, ran to the backyard, and re-acquired our target.

It looks like a bright star. To our eyes, the magnitude was about on par with Jupiter. I found it really cool that I could check the location on the website, look to the sky, and there it is... One of humanity's greatest accomplishments (one day to be looked at as a stepping stone.) My son found it absolutely amazing that I knew which direction it was going to go. We just finished talking about the astronauts and the space station a few minutes before writing this. Go humanity!!

Enjoy!




posted on May, 30 2016 @ 11:02 PM
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If you really want to impress friends and family: go here, set your location, then look for Iridium flares.
www.heavens-above.com...

Get a compass and verify you are looking in the right direction. Make sure your watch is set properly. Then when the time is right, wave your hands in a magical fashion and on cue a star will appear out of nowhere. They can be far brighter than the ISS ever is.


You could charge money. I think that's been done

edit on 5/30/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 30 2016 @ 11:02 PM
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I have been using heavens-above.com for years to watch it pass. Always a pretty cool sight.

It also gives the magnitude.



posted on May, 30 2016 @ 11:21 PM
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a reply to: Phage

I've been planning on checking out the Iridium flares for awhile now, and have had devious thoughts of playing Prohet Yahweh with friends in doing so. I have seen them, but just by chance. Before I knew what they were, when I'd see one I'd murmur to myself, "Aliens" with a sardonic chuckle.



posted on May, 30 2016 @ 11:37 PM
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I see iridium flares pretty often in my location. When I first started noticing them I thought they were UFO's



posted on May, 31 2016 @ 12:51 AM
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originally posted by: eXia7
I see iridium flares pretty often in my location. When I first started noticing them I thought they were UFO's


Yeah same. So basically every ufo I thought I saw was probably a iridium flare 😕



posted on May, 31 2016 @ 01:06 AM
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a reply to: Phage

Posts like this are why I love you.



posted on May, 31 2016 @ 05:50 AM
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Yep, seeing the ISS pass over the sky is pretty amazing. I remember the first time I saw it. I had to get up at 4am for it, so it was a bit dream-like, watching that bright light sail in the sky very gracefully.

One cool thing about watching the ISS is when is passes into Earth's shadow, getting redder and dimmer until it disappears. Another thing is, if you have especially sharp eyesight, you can just about make out the structure.

Here's my video of an ISS pass, filmed 5 years ago with a crap camera: www.youtube.com...


Definitely make use of that heavens-above site, it will give you times to see not just the ISS or iridium flares, but any relatively bright satellites passing over. There's usually quite a few of them each night.
edit on 31-5-2016 by wildespace because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 31 2016 @ 08:27 AM
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a reply to: wildespace

I read that with a decent backyard telescope with tracking, you can actually see the structures in clear detail. Very cool.

I've always watched for satellites while star gazing, but I think it would actually be more interesting to use heavens above to spot them, especially as a learning experience for my little scientist/engineer. Will definitely be checking it out.

I just got my telescope finally. Still figuring it out, so far I've just pointed it at the moon and Jupiter. It's definitely re-ignited my inner space geek!



posted on May, 31 2016 @ 08:29 AM
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a reply to: OpenEars123

Haha! I remember pointing out a few to friends who dismissed them as a trick of the eye, etc. I knew better! Except I was wrong to assume (hope) it was our alien overlords winking at me lol.



posted on May, 31 2016 @ 09:47 AM
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I happened to be up at 2am last night, and really wanted to look at the stars since it was a clear night with no moon. I just happened to see the ISS cross over the sky. I've only seen it twice before. It's a pretty cool sight.



posted on May, 31 2016 @ 01:18 PM
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Phage, there's aught more spectacular than an Iridium flare. I've a handy app on my bangsum smartphone called SatTrack (free from the google play store) which sets to one's location and provides not only upcoming satellite, passes on one's location, but their relative magnitudes, durations, and tracks. I've found it a wonderful help (and a nice party trick to show off at braais [South African Barbeques]). It also gives the same tracking info on the ISS, Iridium flares, rocket debris, and amateur radio satellites, if you have the radio gear to listen to them.

I believe that the app uses info garnered from heavens-above.com and plots it onto your phone in real-time and with an interactive compass.

The best I've seen was a -8.4 Irridium flare. I was almost directly centered on the reflection path. It was breathtaking...

a reply to: Phage
edit on 31-5-2016 by Havoc40k because: elucidation



posted on May, 31 2016 @ 02:54 PM
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a reply to: dogstar23

Ah, what fun! Thanks for posting this. Just the sort of thing I like to find, and something my dad would have appreciated as well. Will have to check it out.



posted on May, 31 2016 @ 04:22 PM
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originally posted by: dogstar23
a reply to: wildespace

I read that with a decent backyard telescope with tracking, you can actually see the structures in clear detail. Very cool.

Absolutely.
c2.staticflickr.com...
c1.staticflickr.com...
I'm currently developing software to aid in tracking fast moving objects with a telescope, including ISS. The above photos were taken using existing "open loop" tracking software based on the orbital elements, but requires manual correction at high magnifications. I'm writing a "closed loop" version that will automatically guide on the station using a video viewfinder camera. There's similar software out there that does this in a similar manner, but it can be expensive and the compatibility list for Meade telescopes is extremely short (and excludes my own telescope).




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