Right, I’ve been asked a few times last night about the ISS, aka the International Space Station. If it’s relatively cloud-free you can turn all the lights off and stand in your garden and see it whizzing past…. at night, obviously. Well, it’d certainly make it easier.
Last night the sky gazers watched the Perseid meteors. This (and believe me, I’ve had to Google this) is when the Earth’s orbit takes it through a stream of dusty comet debris. It looked pretty amazing in the clear night last night but I was more impressed with the Space Station. Why? Well, when you see it you honestly think that it’s a plane or something. If the sun catches it just right it’s a brilliant white colour and flies across your head very quickly indeed.
If you’ve got Android, there’s a great little app called DroidSat which shows you the path of the ISS and, if you combine it with sites like Spacestationfinder.com, you can get a great idea of when the best time to view it will be. Install DroidSat, choose “ISS” and then hold your phone aloft to see a virtual sky with the ISS tracked. It might be under your feet as you read this, so check Spacestationfinder.com to get the next best time, then pop into your garden and fire up the DroidSat app. Everyone will think that you’re proper clever.
Last night it was 11PM for me and, right on queue, I saw the thing very easily indeed. Give it a try tonight if it’s clear – great for filling up the long summer holidays with your kids, or for giving you something to do when you’re walking the dog :)
Oh, and if you’re into all this augmented reality space stuff, you can also use similar apps to help you install your own Sky dish. Pretty cool.