Spacecrafts Streak Over Colorado
Credit & Copyright: Robert Arn
Explanation: Have you ever seen a “star” drifting slowly overhead, but not known what it was? Sometimes even pointing it out to friends or family will only lead to ashrug. What you are seeing, most likely, is a spacecraft in low Earth orbit reflecting back sunlight as it circles the Earth once every 90 minutes or so. Two of the brighter spacecraft in the present day sky are the International Space Station (ISS), and, when it is up, a NASA space shuttle. As relative orientations change, the brightness of reflections may also change, sometimes suddenly. Another source of bright drifting objects, Iridium communication satellites, may even appear to flare up to become brighter than any other sky object for a few seconds. Pictured above, two bright points of light separated by only a few degrees drifted together across the sky aboveLory State Park, Colorado, USA last week, just after sunset. These lights were were the ISS and the space shuttle Discovery, which had undocked from the ISS a few hours earlier. Given a digital fusion of many separate camera exposures and a wide angle perspective, the pair appears above as streaks in front of point-like stars.Web sites now exist that can help you identify unknown “drifters” and even predict the time of the next pass of the ISS visible from your location.
Space shuttle Discovery heads to space after lifting off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to begin its final flight to the International Space Station on the STS-133 mission.
space shuttle discovery, taking off over cinderella’s castle.
magic kingdom, disney world
(03/03/2010) Go Discovery! Excitement builds at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in anticipation of space shuttle Discovery’s upcoming liftoff from Launch Pad 39A. Targeted for launch on April 5, STS-131 will be the 33rd shuttle mission to the station and the 131st shuttle mission overall. Photo Credit: NASA