Viewing the ISS

Viewing the ISS

Postby kal » Thu Jul 28, 2016 1:24 pm

The International Space Station is the brightest object in the night sky, save for the moon. It is easy to spot during one of its regular cycles over say Vancouver (and, by extension, much of BC and WA).

Tonight there will be a Class A+ (high angle, long duration) pass of ‪the #‎ISS‬ over Vancouver. 11:03 PM, Visible: 6 min, Max Height: 87°, Appears: 10° above WSW, Disappears: 11° above ENE. Go outside at 11:03 pm, look to the west and up and you'll spot it. It will be a bright light, not blinking in any way. It will become brighter as it moves closer to the zenith and then become very bright shortly after the zenith as the solar panels reflect maximum light down to earth.

The ISS will be ca. 400 km up and moving at a near-constant speed of 27,000 km/h.

Basically it will be right over head at 11:06 pm. Chart courtesy of heavens-above.com.



Well, no chart. I'm not sure how to load an image into these posts.
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Re: Viewing the ISS

Postby Russ_Byth » Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:48 pm

Or you can download the ISS OnLive app (for Android at least) and track it day and night.
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Re: Viewing the ISS

Postby kal » Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:46 pm

There are lots of tracking apps and sites for the ISS. And Heavens-above.com is a very sophisticated site that has been around since the earliest days of the WWW. However, for me, the email notification from the NASA service of an ISS visible pass is the way to go. I've photographed it many times. It's particularly wonderful to see the ISS when it is being trailed by a supply craft. It is quite interesting to see two craft in proximity and it gives a different feel about the speed at this orbital altitude.

Another wonderful observation make is of an Iridium satellite flare. These are visible from any location on earth but they are highly location-sensitive. Someone 50 km might see nothing whereas the other person might see a magnitude -8 flash from the satellite. A -8 flare is very bright. Venus is about -3 and a bright ISS about -3.5. The more negative the value the brighter the flash.
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Re: Viewing the ISS

Postby Russ_Byth » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:23 pm

Just watched the Space Station fly directly over me in West Kelowna. First saw it when it was off the coast of Vancouver Island, and it grew too faint to see when it was over central Manitoba! #Space_Station
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Re: Viewing the ISS

Postby kal » Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:59 am

Terrific. That was a wonderful pass, about as good as they come here. Almost 90 degrees at maximum elevation, 6 minutes, horizon to horizon. Maximum brightness just past the zenith. Managed to get a few good photos.
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