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Monday, January 31, 2011


See NanoSail-D!

Solar Sail Stunner (drag sail, 550px)
An artist's concept of a solar sail in Earth orbit (Image Credit NASA). [larger image]

You have all probably heard by now that NASA's solar sail satellite NanoSail-D, has unexpectedly been released from it's carrier spacecraft (where it had been stuck) and has successfully unfurled into full solar configuration (Story here and and astronomy picture of the day here).

Okay, so it's old news. But did you know you can see it pass overhead?

For most Australians, for the next week or so, it is in the early morning sky, and not particularly bright, but bright enough to see moving even under suburban skies.
To see NanoSail-D, head over to Heavens Above where they have a dedicated link (next to the dedicated ISS link). Set up your local position and click on the link to find when you can see it.

For CalSky, you have to click on the Satellites menu item, then click on Sat-Library, then search for NanoSail-D2.

Hopefully in the next few weeks it will enter the sky at more reasonable times.

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Hi Ian,
Yep - got up at 4:30am last Thursday to watch it go over (I'm just South of Blackwood SA). It was quite bright but unfortunately it faded very fast and was difficult to follow for most of it's pass over. Nice to say I saw it though. Cheers!
Good that you got it. Between birthdays, visitors and the heat I've been unable to get up early enough to see it.
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