We just came back in from stargazing this evening. Our local weatherman happened to put out some information about sighting the International Space Station several times this weekend and the first opportunity was 14 minutes away. I put down my laptop, called out to my son and we grabbed spots on the hammock out front.
It was a beautiful night to be gazing above at God’s majesty. The temps were Goldilocks pleasant — not too hot and not too cold. The sky was moonless and cloudless allowing the sparkling lights to come alive in the night sky. Soon enough, while we were waiting, we spotted a satellite slowly and methodically aiming across the night sky. My son spotted a shooting star but it was gone before I could move my head that direction.
And then it appeared. The ISS first looked like any other star but was low in the northwest sky plodding upward. Its brightness intensified as it climbed. At 45-60 degrees angle above it was the brightest thing in the night sky and was beautifully silent as it aimed for our house and our viewing spot. At its pinnacle in height and brightness a nearby shooting star careening east punctuated our experience. And this shooting start was long enough for my son to see it, say it, me to turn my head, see it, and then it lasted another two seconds as we both watched it burn out and fade away. Right after the ISS faded away to the southeast, a satellite faintly trekked across the path just laid by the ISS. Interestingly, a hand’s width behind that satellite was another satellite on the same course — like it was chasing it only to never catch it. It reminded me of several years ago where we watched the ISS and the space shuttle prepare for docking. The first night they were a sky’s width away from each other but the second night they were like a dog and cat chasing across the night sky. Very cool and very memorable.
This was another one of those times. It made for a great impromptu summery star night.
…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net