Take A Quick Time Out

Today is the last ride for the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

The craft was first launched 25 years ago, and has become the workhorse of the remaining shuttle fleet.

For the next few days, at certain places and at certain times, you can actually see the shuttle and its reflection off the sun as it catches up to the International Space Station.

It will look like a bright star moving across the sky in a straight line, lasting between 1-3 minutes.

(When I used to do astro-photography, on most any night, photographing almost any object, at least one of my shots would contain the trail of a satellite streaking through my field of view.)

If you are lucky, you can also see the International Space Station streak through the night sky.

Here is a photo taken with an amateur telescope and an astrophoto set-up of a Shuttle docking with the Space Station. (Unfortunately, I don’t know whose photo it is, but I have seen many of these taken with simple backyard set-ups.)

shuttle-mask.jpg

I always thought that was pretty neat.

Obviously, this is not what you will see when you are looking with the naked eye, but it is still pretty fascinating to catch a glimpse of one of these shooting by, knowing what it is, and thinking that there are people in that little machine traveling at 17,900mph.

If you are interested, here is a site which lets you pick your location, and pin-points the time the Shuttle will be seen in your area.

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