Space Cadets! ISS flyby Wednesday night
There will be several promising opportunities this week for residents of Central Maryland to spot the International Space Station as it flies over the state. The air is so humid that clouds may obscure the view. But if we get a break, the station is certainly bright enough to shine through a thin summer haze.
Drag the kids out with you. It will inspire them to pursue a career in math and science. Accost the joggers and dog-walkers and make them look, too. They will be astonished by your scientific awareness.
The first opportunity comes Wednesday evening, as the station flies northeast from high over Alabama toward New Brunswick in eastern Canada.
Look for it to appear above the southwest horizon at 10:46 p.m. EDT. Watch for a bright, star-like object climbing swiftly into the western sky. It will pass just to the left of Saturn, rising high in the northwestern sky. By 10:49 p.m. it will be about two-thirds of the way from the northwest horizon and the zenith (straight up). From there the station and its crew of six (three Russians and three Americans, two of them female) will hustle off toward the northeast, disappearing there at 10:52 p.m.
If we're clouded out on Wednesday, there will be an almost identical pass on Friday evening. The forecast looks much more promising for this one.
Watch for the station as it rises into the western sky at 10:04 p.m. EDT. It will pass between Mars (to its right) and Saturn (to the left). By 10:07 p.m. it will be more than halfway up the northwestern sky, passing through the handle of the Big Dipper. From there, the ISS will move toward the northeast horizon, disappearing at 10:10 p.m.
As always, stop back here after the show and share the experience with others. I'll post the comments as soon as I can.