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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old December 14th, 2006, 02:10 PM   #1
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
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See the ISS in your sky tonight...

Anybody wanting to see the International Space Station flying over your own neck of the woods -- right now with Discovery attached (STS-116), making an even brighter object -- check out http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/

For example:

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata...ity=San_Marcos

There's a 3 min. 15 sec. flyover tonight around 6:10pm visible to folks in central Texas. Completely overcast here currently though.

Sure would like to see somebody catch it on video... it's really brilliant and hard to miss, and it trucks right along across the sky. If you've ever wondered what a 225 ton object looks like, traveling at a speed of 17,000 mph at an altitude of 200 miles high, then you really should check it out. Set up your tripod and see if you can track it with your camcorder... but if it's your first time to see it, forget about the camera and just appreciate the sight with your own eyes. It's amazing to realize that it's going around the planet once every 90 minutes!
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Old December 14th, 2006, 02:14 PM   #2
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I saw the ISS go whizzing by a couple years ago as I was laying on the deck of my bass boat looking up at the night sky.

But the coolest sight I ever saw was in the early 90's while fishing a night tournament on Lake Bob Sandlin in east Texas. Near to daybreak, the shuttle made its re-entry into the atmosphere and there was a huge orange vapor trail with a small bright pinpoint of light at the front of it. The vapor trail went from horizon to horizon. I'd love to see that again sometime and catch it on video.

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Old December 14th, 2006, 04:04 PM   #3
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Direct from Mission Control in Houston...here's what I'm really waiting for, even though viewing will be borderline at best in Houston:

Shuttle undock from ISS is currently timelined for about GMT 21:00 on Monday, 18 Dec 2006 (about 5PM CST Monday). They'll execute a fly-around of the ISS and then do small separation burns.

Anyone lucky enough to be located as follows will have quite a view of two very bright star-like dots racing across the sky:

- along the orbital path in the hours following undock
- early evening or pre-dawn hours (obviously can't see them during daylight, and if the sun is too far below the horizon there won't be any sun-glint off the vehicles and they won't be visible)
- clear skies

Current predicts have the vehicles passing from SW to NE on a line from El Paso TX, over Amarillo, Wichita KS, and on toward Green Bay WI a little after 6PM CST on Monday. At either end of that trajectory, the vehicles may not be visible due to lighting issues (too light, or sun too far below horizon). The other side of the world may have good pre-dawn viewing about 45 minutes later, and the Western US (eg Reno NV) will have some viewing on the next pass 92 minutes later. Check the NASA web site on Monday, though, as orbits do change a bit due to a lot of factors.
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Old December 14th, 2006, 05:01 PM   #4
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There's so much ground clutter in my parts, and the max elevation for tonight for me is only 13 degrees...I'm doubting I'd be able to see much.

I have half an inkling to go to JPL (4 miles away), where there's higher ground (I used to mountain bike there), and likely to be some savyy employees watching as well. Unless they're inside, where I'm sure they can have any view they want!
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Old December 14th, 2006, 07:01 PM   #5
Obstreperous Rex
 
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Most of our cloud cover was gone by 5pm, except for a front along the southern horizon which blocked the view for me tonight (max. elevation was only 14 degrees anyway). Three more opportunities between tomorrow and Monday, according to NASA's Real Time Data for the CenTex neighborhood (including Mon Dec 18, 06:09 PM for 2 minutes, 22 degrees max, in 22 above NW, out 12 above N).

Ten people up there right now. Practically a village. Back in September there were thirteen people and three vehicles in space on one day, between the ISS, Atlantis coming back and a Soyuz going up. That's not a record, but still pretty amazing.
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Old December 14th, 2006, 07:18 PM   #6
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I wish I had a longer lens for the 350, mines only good to 64mil.
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