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Saw the ISS tonight

Old 04-02-22, 07:07 PM
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Saw the ISS tonight

It was bright as hell, a solid bright white light. The NASA website kind of confirmed what I saw heading NW to SE around 8:30 PM in the NYC area. It was much brighter than any satellite Ive ever seen. Pretty neat.
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Old 04-02-22, 08:17 PM
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I pulled up the live feed and am curious to see the sunrise that should happen within the hour.
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Old 04-03-22, 10:01 AM
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It also moves pretty fast.
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Old 04-03-22, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
It was bright as hell, a solid bright white light. The NASA website kind of confirmed what I saw heading NW to SE around 8:30 PM in the NYC area. It was much brighter than any satellite Ive ever seen. Pretty neat.
Iíve seen it 3 times over the years. Twice right over my house. One of the local news channels usually tells people when it will be visible in the area. Definitely a cool sight. Itís speed makes it distinguishable from a plane.

The first time I saw it was from a third floor roof deck in Avalon, NJ. It came from the NW moving SE, so we got to watch it disappear over the Atlantic.
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Old 04-03-22, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Iíve seen it 3 times over the years. Twice right over my house. One of the local news channels usually tells people when it will be visible in the area. Definitely a cool sight. Itís speed makes it distinguishable from a plane.

The first time I saw it was from a third floor roof deck in Avalon, NJ. It came from the NW moving SE, so we got to watch it disappear over the Atlantic.
I enjoy spotting satellites, usually easy to spot if the sky is clear. This was way beyond the brightness level of any satellite I've ever seen and it was a steady bright, not like when a spinning and rotating satellite catches and reflects the sun. I though airplane, but you don't see landing light brightness on a plane moving away from you and there were no flashing red as would be on a plane. My wife though it was a drone.
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Old 04-04-22, 08:27 AM
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Sign up for Spot the Station, you'll get email\text notification when it will be visible where live.
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Old 04-04-22, 10:48 AM
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That thing's pretty big, like 100 yards long, right? I wonder if it's extra bright like you saw if you happen to be where the sunlight bouncing off the solar panels lands on earth

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Old 04-04-22, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
It also moves pretty fast.
Yes, I also would consider 10X faster than a speeding bullet to be "pretty fast".
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Old 04-04-22, 02:17 PM
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Reminds me of the 'Falkenberg's Legion' series of military sci fi books. The warfare was kept mostly 'conventional', because they could quickly destroy any satellite by launching water into a contrary orbit, and it would be destroyed by a hail of extremely high velocity ice cubes
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Old 04-04-22, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
That thing's pretty big, like 100 yards long, right? I wonder if it's extra bright like you saw if you happen to be where the sunlight bouncing off the solar panels lands on earth
"Spot The Station" lists viewing opportunities before sunrise or after sunset but not late at night. You need to be in the dark on the ground and it needs to be in the sunlight in orbit. If you are both in full sun or full darkness it's not as easy to see.
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Old 04-04-22, 06:15 PM
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Here is another site

https://www.astroviewer.net/iss/en/observation.php

I am going to try to look tomorrow. I am in Philly.
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Old 04-04-22, 08:02 PM
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I was out shooting night photos with a friend one night when somebody pointed overhead and said "the bright, fast one is the ISS."
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Old 04-05-22, 12:50 AM
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I have a place in West Texas, it’s a long way from civilization, and a hell of a drive from the highway. The altitude is high, and with no major cities within 100 miles, the night sky is clear. You can see the ISS and satellites in orbit moving across the sky.
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Old 04-05-22, 08:56 AM
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Here's some cool links:

Heavens Above - great for visual satellite spotting all types (set the place and time and it generates a list of all visible craft). You can also set the magnitude (brightness) to compensate for how much light pollution exists in your area). Here's a list of the brighter satellites visible from Pittsburgh tonight:

It used to list Iridium satellite flares, back in the day. It also has some user-friendly astronomy charts for IDing the planets, comets, and asteroids (you'll need a telescope for these).

ISS Photo from Earth - Amazing Detail
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Old 04-05-22, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
Wow! I remember seeing that when it was first reported. Tres cool!
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Old 04-05-22, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
Here's some cool links:

Heavens Above - great for visual satellite spotting all types (set the place and time and it generates a list of all visible craft). You can also set the magnitude (brightness) to compensate for how much light pollution exists in your area). Here's a list of the brighter satellites visible from Pittsburgh tonight:

It used to list Iridium satellite flares, back in the day. It also has some user-friendly astronomy charts for IDing the planets, comets, and asteroids (you'll need a telescope for these).

ISS Photo from Earth - Amazing Detail
Brightness ranges from 3.0 to 5.0... is "brighter" the higher number or the lower number? Is 3.0 brighter than 5.0? (thus easier to see...)
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Old 04-05-22, 03:44 PM
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You can also use software/apps like Stellarium or Sky Safari or Heavens Above (Stellarium is also available on the web; not sure about the others). I know Stellarium will show satellites, and I think the others might as well.
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Old 04-06-22, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Brightness ranges from 3.0 to 5.0... is "brighter" the higher number or the lower number? Is 3.0 brighter than 5.0? (thus easier to see...)
The lower the number, the brighter the object. If you look at the constellation of Orion, the three stars in the "belt" range from 1.62 to 2.13. Then look eastward from Orion and you'll see the brightest star in the current night sky, Sirius. It's magnitude is -1.09.

The same system is used for the brightness of the satellites. So ISS at -0.9 is way brighter than a satellite listed as 2.7. I like to check out the satellites that pass as nearly directly overhead as possible and then follow them dimming to nothing in the earth's shadow.
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Old 04-06-22, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Kat12 View Post
You can also use software/apps like Stellarium or Sky Safari or Heavens Above (Stellarium is also available on the web; not sure about the others). I know Stellarium will show satellites, and I think the others might as well.
Stellarium does show satellites for sure. The nice thing about Heaven's Above is that you can print out the list and plan your observing, if that's your thing (yeah, I'm an absolute nerd about stuff like this).
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Old 04-06-22, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
The lower the number, the brighter the object. If you look at the constellation of Orion, the three stars in the "belt" range from 1.62 to 2.13. Then look eastward from Orion and you'll see the brightest star in the current night sky, Sirius. It's magnitude is -1.09.

The same system is used for the brightness of the satellites. So ISS at -0.9 is way brighter than a satellite listed as 2.7. I like to check out the satellites that pass as nearly directly overhead as possible and then follow them dimming to nothing in the earth's shadow.
Thanks for that comparison... to Orion's belt. I can almost always find that.

Yeah I figured out the lower number was brighter after playing with the settings for a bit. Had a bright quarter moon (or so) out last night, so not a great night for sat or star viewing... at least early on.
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Old 04-06-22, 09:33 AM
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There's an app you can get for your phone that will notify you ahead of time of when it's going to be passing over your location.

It's called ISS Spotter.
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Old 04-06-22, 09:55 AM
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I had a similar experience back in September when I saw a SpaceX rocket as I was out walking my neighborhood, mentioned here on one of the music threads:

Originally Posted by Deal4Fuji View Post
^^^ as an aside, I thought I saw a comet, UFO or something definitely weird Wednesday night while walking the neighborhood. On days I don't ride I try to walk 3 miles, and it's usually dark and after dinner when I get out. We live close to an industrial airport and what I saw 1st looked like a jet coming in for a landing through thick clouds with a bright spotlight on the front, but I realized the wide light beam was trailing narrow point of origin, not leading it and it was moving too slow for something that low of an altitude. It took me several laps around the block before I remembered the SpaceX launch was Wed night and that had to be what I witnessed.

Good tune !
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Old 04-06-22, 10:43 AM
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ISS? Ionospheric Single Speed? (Spends most of its time coasting, has limited mobility options, certainly not a full cassette worth.) Does have NiteRider and the others beat for lighting. Overkill you'd think for a singe speed but I hear it manages to go pretty fast. Those astronauts must be hard as nails after six months of riding that thing!
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Old 04-06-22, 01:59 PM
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It's speed across the sky is similar to a passenger jet's movement. But brighter and no blinking lights. Comparable to Venus ( mag -4.1 max) and brighter than Jupiter (mag -2.8) , easily visible in the city, even if you can barely see a handful of stars.

The Heavens Above page will tell you how far away it is when it disappears from view. Often over 2000 km away, 1200 miles!
The coolest view, if the timing works out, is when it reaches the Earth's shadow and fades to red, then disappears.

Last edited by rm -rf; 04-06-22 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 04-06-22, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Deal4Fuji View Post
I had a similar experience back in September when I saw a SpaceX rocket as I was out walking my neighborhood, mentioned here on one of the music threads:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pv01sSq44w
Oh, that would've been cool to see. I tried my luck to get to go on that mission, but no luck. I was heartbroken...
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