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Old 08-16-2011, 09:41 AM   #1
Ripley
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Default How does the ISS look like (naked eye from Earth) ?

I tried a few days ago to catch a naked-eye glimpse at the ISS, with the data from n2yo website.
Elevation was more than 80.

I >think< I saw it, but since it was my very first time, I'm not sure about it, as I don't know how it "looks like".

What I saw was a faint (it was 21:30 at night, so not pitch black), very fast little light.
It was not a shooting star as its intensity was consistent all the way.
There were some small clouds so it was kind of discontinuous now-you-see-it-now-you-don't.

My main question is about its speed: is it a question of a few seconds and it's gone, or is it a slower object?

Last edited by Ripley; 09-16-2011 at 11:48 AM. Reason: Added details in thread title
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:45 AM   #2
IronRain
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Slower. It varies, but most of the time you can see it a couple of minutes.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:56 AM   #3
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At a max elevation of 80 it'll take about 5 minutes to go from horizon-to-horizon - maybe a little bit more. The main thing that'll tell you it's the ISS is the "Oh my God it's so bright that it's going to kill us all" feeling. At peak brightness it will be brighter than the brightest you've ever seen Venus.

www.heavens-above.com is the best site for getting viewing information. You can put in your location and it'll draw sky-charts with the major constellations and the path the ISS takes across the sky, with times for when it starts, reaches max elevation and disappears. Best tool you can have for sightings.
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:00 AM   #4
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If it's an overhead pass it takes about 4-6 minutes to go from horizon to horizon and it's a very defined point of light travelling with some speed and quite bright when it's overhead.

Have a look at http://www.heavens-above.com this site will not only give you times for ISS fly overs but groundtracks and magnitudes. Certainly makes ISS spotting much easier!

And Agentgonzo beat me.
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:11 AM   #5
Ripley
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Cool. Thanks all!
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:06 PM   #6
ky
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I remember seeing Atlantis and the ISS together(although the shuttle was undocked)the last time the shuttle will be at the station,and a few mornings later,the shuttle gliding to landing for a final time.Truly amazing.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:02 PM   #7
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To me, it always looks like a bright airliner, traveling at about the same angular speed over the sky, with no strobe, but instead with a dirty orange glow.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:41 PM   #8
Wishbone
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Lucky Southerners, all of you ...
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:44 PM   #9
vchamp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ky View Post
 I remember seeing Atlantis and the ISS together(although the shuttle was undocked)the last time the shuttle will be at the station,and a few mornings later,the shuttle gliding to landing for a final time.Truly amazing.
I once saw ISS ans Space Shuttle during rendezvous, one bright object following closely another at high speeds - truly magnificient view.
To my surprise the Shuttle had roughly the same brightness as ISS.
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