Friday, June 25, 2010

Looking Up

I watched the International Space Station fly overhead tonight.

It was really bright, with a -3.7 magnitude flying out of the WSW and made a transit of just over five minutes before dipping over the tree line and out of sight. The station's orbit has taken it out of the shadow of the Earth for the next day or so.

That's really cool.

I remember reading October Sky a few years ago before it became a major motion picture. Homer Hickam wrote about seeing Sputnik cross his little piece of West Virginia sky and how it changed the course of his life. Watching the station fly over tonight, I can understand that.

Without any kind of magnification, it really is just a really bright dot of light that doesn't blink. It moves silently, no droning engine noise, and it moves faster than any Earth-bound plane I've ever seen. It's the definition of smooth motion, gleaming poetry against the night sky.

Yes, I'm a geek. My true be all and end all wild career wish? To be an astronaut.

There's also a partial lunar eclipse tonight. You'll have to get up early to see it, beginning at 3:17 a.m. with the moment of greatest coverage at 4:30 a.m. It's only a partial eclipse, but 54% of the Moon will be covered.

Interesting goings on in the heavens tonight if you care to look up.

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