ISS and Discovery in orbit

Tonight I managed to catch the International Space Station and the Discovery orbiter about 6 hours after they separated. I caught them in this two minute exposure with a Nikon D-40 as they drew a line in the sky from Texas to Michigan. It doesn’t take long at 17,500 miles per hour. You can’t tell from this time exposure photo, but Discovery was about 5 seconds ahead of ISS, and not nearly as bright. You may have gone outside to watch about 8:15 CDT… It is always very special to me to see them playing chase so far above. It seems so far away, but they are only about 200 miles above the surface of the earth.

ISS & Discovery leave streak across the sky.

ISS & Discovery leave streak across the sky.


You can use the excellent web site http://heavens-above.com for accurate predictions from your location. I have saved my Latitude and Longitude in my login profile, and I can quickly find details on overhead passes for ISS and/or any other visible satellite. The pass detail provides links to star charts and a ground track for reference. This sample illustrates the ground track for the pass in the picture above. The picture shows from about 8:15 to 8:17 CDT.
Sample image of ISS groundtrack

Sample image of ISS groundtrack


Heavens-Above also has a neat little program that shows me where the ISS is currently located, and I show that in the sidebar of this web site. The ISS should be visible again Wednesday and Thursday nights in the southeastern US.
Enjoy /;^)

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