iss.jpgI’ve been eyeing the schedule of the ISS for months, and it seemed like it was always passing overhead at 6:00 am or some damn thing. Now, I like to see sparkling spacecraft floating by as much as the next person, but that’s just too damn early. Lately, though, it’s switched to passing at about 8:00 pm. Now, that’s more like it. So, last Saturday night, K & I traipsed out the field at the end of our street at 7:52 to see the event.

I didn’t realize until we’d gotten out to the field that, even though I look at Heavens Above on a regular basis, I hadn’t actually bothered to look at the ISS in some time. Perhaps when I realized that Nasa Hates Me and I’d never actually board the thing that I lost interest in looking at it. But, let’s let bygones be bygones.

Another dissuasion is that looking at the ISS isn’t stargazing. It seems like cheating, kind of like having a bird feeder to birdwatch (Yes, I do that too.). Then there’s another part of me that says, “Aw, you know you want to look at! ‘S fun!”

I remembered my compass but not my binoculars. I falsely recalled the ISS passing at great speed. When you live in an apartment complex with about five square feet of sky visible (okay, it was more than that), you don’t actually see the ISS the whole time it’s in the sky. You see it for about ten seconds. Thinking this would be the case, I didn’t think I’d have time to see it in the binocs.

(I don’t know if that’s an actual slang, but it seems like one).

At exactly 7:50:21, on schedule, the tiny glowing orb start passing in a shallow arc about a quarter of the way up from the western horizon. We, being nerds, felt hella excited. We didn’t take our eyes off of it for the five minutes it took before it went behind the hills — several more minutes than the chart said it would be in view. Score, dude.

K & I both felt that it looked distinctly oblong in shape, and we might be able to see more details if we brought the binocs (heh, heh) next time.

Even thought I can’t be one of them, I felt happy thinking of folks chatting or eating or reading dials or whatever they do on the ISS. Must be hecka thrilling. Then again, standing in our field, which I love so much, and seeing it go by was pretty special too.

Um, but I still want her job. Look at her, exercising in zero gravity. So smug. peggy.jpg The caption reads: “Image above: Astronaut Peggy Whitson, Expedition 16 commander, exercises on the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation System (CEVIS) in the Destiny Laboratory. Credit: NASA ” (This photo stolen from NASA. ‘Cause they owe me.)


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