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Sunday, February 21, 2010


ISS and Shuttle Shoot the Moon in South Australia

Track of ISS and Shuttle around maximum height above ground (roughly 20:34 -20:36 ACDST, this image is printable, click to embiggen).

Short notice sorry, but if you live in South Australia (and places close to the SA/Vic or SA/WA border) you can see the International Space Station (ISS) and the Space Shuttle pass in front of the Moon at around 20:34 or 20:36 (Heavens above and the Human Spacecraft centre have a two minute difference in the pass time) tonight (Sunday February 21).

If you live in parts of the Northern Territory (eg Alice Springs, you can see the Space Shuttle and ISS but they will not be near the Moon (7:34 pm and 7:38 pm for the Shuttle and ISS pass respectively). In all cases the shuttle and ISS are passing in twilight, the ISS should be easy to see, while the Shuttle may be more difficult. The shuttle is 2 minutes ahead of the ISS. Elsewhere the pair rise during daylight or are not seen at all.

More realistic view of the sky when the pair are passing over.

From SA, the pair rise in the west and head for the Northwest, passing over the Moon. It's best to start looking around 20:30 so that your eyes are accommodated and you are oriented in the sky. In NT the pair rise in the south and head east (19:30 in NT).

Don't give up if the pair are a little late, this can happen. For local timings see http://www.heavens-above.com/ (require free registration) or http://spaceflight1.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/ (no registration but data for only a few cities in any given state).

UPDATE: Bah! Humbug! Cloud!

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I didn't know STS130 had separated when I showed the kids the ISS on Saturday evening. My son said "what's that moving near it".
I said "it's probably a star and it's tricking you into thinking it's moving"
He said "No Daddy, that"
Woohoo !! we saw the Shuttle and the ISS travelling about 1 minute apart.
We didn't see a waste water dump, though ...
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