I am sure many of you already knew about this, but not me. I didn’t find out until just recently that you can actually watch the International Space Station orbit over the earth at various times, and see it with the naked eye!
When my friends, Rick and Denice were here in May, Rick told me that he often catches an ISS sighting when he goes to work on his night shifts (or sometimes early in the morning when he leaves). I was surprised that one could actually see it and know what they were looking at, so he sent me the link to the website that gives the viewing opportunities. The next few weeks offered only early morning sighting (we are talking ~4:00 a.m!) so I waited about a month and checked the schedule again. I discovered there were at least two evening sightings each night for that next week. So I set my iPhone alarm to remind me of each one, then when it sounded, I went outside and starting looking at the sky. Sure enough, right on schedule, I spotted it quickly and watched it move across the sky. It’s a bit larger than a star, but slightly smaller than an airplane. Depending on it’s location, it moves pretty quickly. The longest sighting I watched was about 6 minutes as it rose in the southwest and moved right across above me to the northeast. Other times, it was only visible for a minute or two and closer to the horizon.
I found myself thinking how the earth must look to the astronauts living out there on that tiny, lighted blip as it whizzed over my home. I was fascinated with that thought, and couldn’t stop going out again and again to watch. Even though it is the Space Station that looks so small to my eye, I feel so very small when I gaze at the vast night sky.
There is only one sighting available from my house in the next two weeks, but I’m sure it will come into view again soon. I’m hoping it might be visible from San Diego in August when Glenda, Alice and I take our next girlfriend’s summer trip.
Here’s the website for looking up the schedule for your own town.