I sent this out to my fellow NASA astronomy educators this morning
and thought our list would enjoy it too. Jane
I was at the Art Center College of Design's
open house last night
viewing (and using) my Cassini Colleague Dave Doody's Gravity Assist
Mechanical Simulator - (a work of art that does hands-on science),
and we stepped outside to view the ISS a little before 9 p.m.
We started looking near Jupiter - that bright thing in the
southwestern sky. At a few minutes later than scheduled (I think) -
maybe the clocks were off, I spied a little moving 'star" started
rising slowly near Jupiter. Over the course of about 5 minutes it
got higher and higher and brighter and brighter. There were clouds
or fog marring some of the starry signposts, and in fact I gave up
looking after a few minutes, and Dave started walking back inside.
Then I saw it and hollered, and Dave and others came back out. It was
soon as bright as Jupiter.
Meanwhile, Mojo was at a Baldwin Park school doing the same thing,
showing Jupiter and the International Space Station.
There is another ISS pass Friday night.....beginning 8:02 p.m.,
reaches 10 degrees of altitude at 8:04, reaches maximum altitude -
highest point is a whopping 83 degrees (90 degrees is straight
overhead) at 8:07, then drops below 10 degrees above the horizon at
8:10 p.m. That's a nice long pass.
Be sure to check out the ground track link, as ISS passes directly
over Pasadena both nights. And if greater LA is not your location,
you can create your own map from the home page link.
Are you wondering if you'll be able to see the ISS, despite some of
our pesky evening fog? If you can see bright Jupiter in the SW about
30 degrees above the horizon, then you should be able to see the ISS.
Use Jupiter as your reference point. The ISS will rise from the SW,
rise near Jupiter - which is about where I spotted it last night ,
tho' it was an hour later and an hour darker last night. It will
continue brightening and rising almost overhead, then start sinking
in altitude towards the NE. No telescope required, this is a view for
the unaided eye.
There are also locally visible passes on the 17th and 19th
but the altitude is quite low at maximum altitude, meaning that trees
and buildings may mar your view. Friday is the best next pass.
Next news will be about our next sidewalk dates and a pretty view in
the pre-dawn morning sky for you early risers - Mercury, Venus Moon
and Saturn on the eastern horizon.
Jane Houston Jones
Senior Outreach Specialist, Cassini Program
JPL - 4800 Oak Grove Drive, MS 230-205
Pasadena, CA 91109 818-393-6435
Cassini Saturn Observation Campaign