In the sky!

Last night the space station passed directly over our house. I happened to have been watching the local news that night when they told about it, so I was outside, and the sky was clear, when it came.

My first thought, after squelching the idiotic urge to wave, was how fast the damn thing was moving—no wonder the European cargo ship, the ATV, (an unmanned supply ship the size of a double-decker bus, which called the Jules Verne, a name that is so much cooler than Discovery or Endeavor) is tracking along gingerly in an orbit four minutes ahead of the station (you can see that, too, if you’re not inside on the phone telling your daughter to go outside and look up.) How do two objects dock in space? Like porcupines making love.

However, on seeing the light zipping along overhead, my second thought was, of course, post-apocalyptic: a person on a hillside, in a time without city lights and rocket propulsion, catching sight of this bright star moving impossibly fast overhead. Yesterday it was there in another place, and tomorrow its circuit will have moved on—Egad: the earth is round!

But it was too cold to stand outside dreaming of a destroyed future, and I’d had a rather vivid conversation that afternoon about the local mountain lions, so I went back in to tell the cats about it instead.

If you want to see when the space station is next visiting your patch of geography, NASA will happily tell you here .

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  1. sandy l on March 27, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    We saw the space station pass over my parents’ house last July. It was at night and all the kids were able to see it. They were pretty impressed.

  2. corgimom on March 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    We have seen the station several times on our early morning walks as it comes over the Sandia Mountains–wow! I love living here because we get such good views of so many astronomical events.

    Glad you were able to see the station and glad the mountain lions left you alone!

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