Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

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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