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September 13, 2010

Int'l Space Sta. due over Baltimore Tues. night

Space Cadets! It would be hard to find a better opportunity to watch the International Space Station fly over Baltimore than the one we're expecting Tuesday evening.

The Heavens-Above web site shows the flight track carrying the giant tinker toy from Lake Michigan, almost directly over Baltimore, Heavens-above.comand then southeast to the Delaware Shore before heading out over the Atlantic.

The weather forecast looks favorable. There's a cold front due to pass through the region tonight, bringing some mid-level clouds with it. But they should clear away during the day Tuesday as high pressure builds into the region behind the front.

UPDATE, 4:50 p.m. Tuesday:  Forecast is holding up. Here's the latest Clear Sky chart.

A few more clouds may move through late Tuesday night. But generally the forecast calls for a sunny day Tuesday and partly cloudy conditions Tuesday night. It may be a close call on the arrival of the clouds Tuesday evening. Fingers crossed.

If skies stay clear, look for the ISS to appear above the northwestern horizon at 7:29 p.m. Tuesday. Look for a bright, star-like object climbing briskly. If it has multiple, blinking or colored lights, it's an aircraft. Keep looking. The station will move through the stars of the handle of the Big Dipper, reaching the zenith (straight up) at 7:32 p.m. From there, it will move off toward the southeast, fading to black at 7:36 p.m.

The station is moving at 17,500 mph, about 220 miles above the Earth. There are currently three NASA ISSother spacecraft docked with the station, including two Russian Soyuz vehicles that will bring the current crews home, and two Russian Progress supply craft - one of which arrived Sunday. The next (and next-to-last) U.S. shuttle flight to the station is scheduled for Nov. 1.

There are six crew members on board. They include three Russian men - a Russian Air Force colonel, a rocket engineer and a mechanical engineer born in Georgia; also three Americans - a U.S. Army colonel with an engineering degree, and two American women - one a chemist and the other a physicist.

If the weather cooperates, be sure to stop back here and leave a comment about the spectacle. I like to think it helps get more people out to look with their children, and maybe that will inspire someone's kids to pursue a career in science.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:31 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Sky Watching
        

Comments

YAYYYY!! Get the binoculars out.

I didn't see anything :(

FR: The sky was still quite bright at 7:30. It took me a while to pick it up - it was nearly overhead. But then it popped out nicely and was quite easy to see as it moved off to the SE. Sorry you missed it.

I'm afraid I couldn't see it here in the city. Nor could my fellow spotters in Reisterstown and Stewartstown. There seemed to be a haze in the sky. Thanks for keeping us posted. We'll look forward to the next time!

This just in from Mt. Royal:

"Thanks for posting info on it. My daughter and I saw it perfectly from Mt. Royal. Very cool. - Kevin Cross"

And this, via email:

"Thanks again for the mention of the ISS fly-over. My son (age 7) and I took advantage of a cool evening to sit on the stoop, and watch for it. Didn't see it at first until it was almost overhead; still a bit bright as the Sun has not completely set at the time. We watched for about 3-4 minutes, before we lost it behind the houses in back of my house.

"Thanks again!! - James Ward, Rosedale
Satellite watcher"

I too did not see it until it was almost overhead, I was looking more west. I guess I have seen the station over 20 times, starting 10 years ago. I have seen the shuttle trailing and just after separation and it STILL amazes me!

No joy in Owings Mills. We stood out in the middle of our Circle looking up. Felt a little silly. I told my partner that when neighbors see this kind of behavior, they tend to leave you alone. ;-)

Maybe next time ...

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff
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