Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tres cool

Yesterday morning at about 6:11, I was at the local fire station talking to a paramedic when my cell phone alarm went off. I checked it, and said, "Holy crap!" and ran to my patrol car. The paramedic, who was underdressed for the chilly morning he was smoking a cigarette in, shrugged and went back inside.

I dug out my binoculars, and thought about driving off to a better, darker spot. 6:12 no-- 6:13. Too late. I didn't want to miss it. I leaned back against the paramedic's pickup, and leaned my head back, looking to the northwest.

It turned out that I was looking too far north, for it was a flash out of the corner of my left eye that drew my attention more westerly, in time to see the International Space Station, docked with the Endeavor (STS-123), rising overhead to 87 degrees declination before descending east toward the gloaming horizon. The sun beyond the horizon caught the 200+ mile-high orbiting docked duo, and made them brighter than I ever would have guessed. Before they made it to their maximum height, I was tracking them with my cheapo 7X35 binoculars, and could easily see the pinched spot in the middle between the craft, with one side being considerably larger than the other. I had seen the shuttles pass over, before. I had seen many a man-launched satellite pass by. But I've never seen anything like this. It took about 4 minutes to pass over, at its speed of over 17,000 mph. Docked together, the two craft were undoubtedly a significantly larger spectacle than the "mere" sight of the ISS alone.

Worth watching. Go here to check on when it will be visible from your location.

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