Thursday, October 11, 2012

International Space Station

So here's the deal, would you like to see the international space station from your own backyard?   Sound impossible?   I am going to tell you how to do it and it is a lot of fun.   Let me preface that what you will get to see is not what you see in the picture above or in the picture below.
What you will see is like a very bright shining star moving across the sky.   It is best observed either just before sunrise or just after sunset.   But how do you know when it will be over your house?   Easy.   Just go to the website   When you do you will get this page.   By the way, even though the web address is in blue, it is not a link.   You will have to type the address in or do a search for n2yo and go from there.   If you are having trouble reading the item below or any of the other items or pictures, just click on the item or picture and you will get the larger version of it which will be much more legible.
What the map shows is a live tracking of the international space station as it orbits around the earth and is continually updated every couple of seconds.
At this particular moment the space station was over Sri Lanka.   But now we have to know when it will pass over your house.  
First you have to tell it your location by clicking on "change location".
Just follow the instructions and then come back to this page which should show your location under the heading "current location".   Are you still with me?   Just persist because it is worth it.
Now you have to click on 5-day prediction which I have circled on the right in the picture below.
And "voila" you have the paths of the international space station orbiting over your house.   And here it is for where I live.
The space station should be passing over me around 7:38 pm (which is about 37 minutes from now).   Click on the little box that says map and look at what you get.
Now isn't that pretty neat.   In this case the space station will be travelling from the southwest to the northeast.   And remember the smaller the number for the magnitude the brighter the space station will be.   Tonight the magnitude is going to be -1.5.    I like it best when it has a magnitude of -2.4.   Isn't it kind of crazy that the lower the number the brighter the space station is.   All you all set now?   As they say, keep looking up and enjoy see the actually space station pass overhead even if it appears as a bright star.   Click on the tab on the picture that says satellite or hybrid and you will get a birds-eye view of where you live.   Please let me know in the comments section below how much success you had and if you enjoyed watching the skies.    Gotta go, the space station will be overhead shortly.    Lew

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