Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ISS/Shuttle Pass Overhead

The picture below was taken about 9:30 p.m. on July 26, 2009, as the combined International Space Station (ISS) and the Shuttle passed over Farmersville. In this reduced shot, you can see the streak left by the ISS during a 10 second time exposure.

A close-up (full resolution) of just the ISS is below. This is taken facing southeast. The timing for this pass was: start 9:25 p.m. (10 degrees NW); peak 9:28 p.m. (79 degrees WSW); end 9:31 p.m. (10 degrees SE).
There is a crew of 13 on board at the moment.

I walked into the back yard at about 9:15 p.m. so I'd have time to let my eyes adjust to the darkness (it was hardly yet dark). As I was setting my camera up on the tripod, I saw that the sky was busy with bats. Two of them fluttered by so closely that I could hear their wings beat. I waved my hands a few times so they could "see" me and most of them moved higher and off to the side.
The ISS pass was perhaps the brightest I have ever seen. It's peak magnitude was -3.2. Venus, by comparison, is about -4.1. The object passed so quickly when it was overhead that I had trouble keeping it in the frame. Thus the picture I've posted was taken as the ISS was lower in the sky and moving apparently slower.
What a beautiful night to watch science at work.