Monday, June 29, 2009

Space Station over the Twin Cities

Posted by Kirk Mona
And now for something completely different. This is the first astronomy related post to the Twin Cities Naturalist. I'm a fan of astronomy and stargazing and strongly consider it part of being a naturalist. There's a great opportunity to stretch your space science geek muscles coming up and I figured I should tell everyone about it.

The International Space Station will fly over the Twin Cities at 11:19 p.m. on July 6th. It is not especially rare to have a fly-over but this one should be good as it will 87 degrees up in the sky so almost right overhead. If you haven't seen it before you should check it out.

I remember the first fly-over I saw was years ago but as the space station grows they keep getting brighter and brighter.

Here's an animation of how the station has changed over the years.

If you miss it there is another pass on the 8th at 10:33 pm that will be only slightly lower elevation (84 degrees)

The ISS passing overhead looks like a really bright star. Don't expect to see much. With a telescope you can actually make out the solar panels. You could try to make out some detail with binoculars. Tracking is tricky and it is bright but some people have reported seeing a few shape details from Earth.

At any rate, it is fun to watch it glide by and to think that there are people living up there in space.