Bright space station flyby due
As long as this relatively clear, dry weather holds up, Marylanders should make plans to catch a good, long look at the International Space Station Friday evening as the giant Tinker Toy flies up the east Coast.
This will be an unusually bright pass by the station, at Magnitude minus-2.4. The sun angles are nearly ideal, and the reflected light will make the station nearly as bright as the planet Jupiter, which has been brilliant the last few nights in the southern sky.
So grab the kids, bang on the neighbors' door and get everybody out to watch for the station. Those are your tax dollars at play up there, after all.
Look for the ISS to rise above the southwestern horizon at 9:48 p.m. Put the kids and their young eyeballs on the case. I'm betting they spot it first, although this flyby will be so bright I can't imagine anyone missing it. It's likely to shine right through any summer haze or thin clouds.
Anyway, the station and its crew of three will climb about halfway up the southeastern sky by 9:51 p.m., passing directly above Jupiter, which is quite low in the southeast.
From there, it will slide off toward the northeast as the station passes off the Delmarva coast and heads on up the Atlantic Seaboard (What is a 'seaboard,' anyway?) toward Nova Scotia. Watch as it passes through the Summer Triangle, the right triangle formed by the bright stars Vega, Deneb and Altair, which hangs in the eastern sky on summer evenings.
After you've enjoyed the show, drop back here and leave a comment. Let everybody know how cool this really is.