Space Station! Tonight!
Space Cadets! Looks like skies will cooperate this evening, providing us with a nice view of the International Space Station as it soars up the East Coast.
Look for the ISS, rising above the southwest horizon, at 7:17 p.m. EDT. If you see colored lights, or flashing strobes, it's an aircraft. Keep looking. (Kids do this well. Get yours off their duffs and drag them outside to help.)
The length and width of a football field, the ISS as it appears from the ground is a bright, single, steady light - all of it reflected sunlight. It has no "running lights" and the windows are too small to emit enough light to be seen at these distances.
At 225 miles above the Earth's surface, the ISS will be over Georgia when we first spot it from Central Maryland. It will be two-thirds of the way up (66 degrees above) the southeast horizon by 7:20 p.m., almost directly over Ocean City.
From there, the station will move out over the Atlantic at 17,500 mph, entering the Earth's shadow at 7:22 p.m. as it approaches Nova Scotia from the southwest. Just rising above the eastern horizon at that moment will be the bright planet Jupiter, which currently dominates the night sky.
As always, come back here after the show, leave a comment and share the experience.