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cog (4665)

Journal of cog (4665)

Monday July 18, 2005
01:06 PM

Is that the ISS?

[ #25769 ]

There's something in the sky.

It shows up by dusk, before stars can be seen.

It's the (apparent) size of a start.

It is not a start, as it is not twinkling.

It is not Mars, as it is not red.

And somehow I don't think it's Venus either, because I can see it more easily than Venus.

The thing is, a couple of years ago, I saw on TV that the ISS would be seen from the ground when it would be completed. Months passed, perhaps even a year or more, as I wasn't counting, and then I started seeing that thing...

It's weird, because most of the time it can be seen even when no other stars can, and I've always been the kind of guy who looks constantly at the sky by night, so it is not likely that I've missed that thing for so many years and suddenly keep on noticing it every single day. Er... night.

Well, not every night, of course. There are nights when I don't have the opportunity to see the sky, be it because I'm inside walls or just because the weather won't let me.

Anyway, the question is:

Is that the ISS?

Can the ISS really be seen from the ground?

Is that really an astronaut waving at me?

To somebody else?

OK, you get the point :-)

Any well-informed geek reading this? :-)


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  • My guess is that it is in fact Venus. Were it the ISS, it would not be relatively stationary with respect to the sun. You didn't actually say that it was always in the same place when you saw it, but I infer from

    It shows up by dusk, before stars can be seen.

    that it is at least always above the horizon at about dusk. The thing is, Venus is (currently) pretty well above the horizon at just around dusk. The International Space Station would be moving, noticeably even to the naked eye. You would,

    • I don't know how fast it moves, but it definitely changes places.
      • Noticeably as you watch it, or just from day to day? Venus is a fast-moving planet: you'd notice a change in position from day to day, but not from second to second like the ISS.
        • I remember there was a night when I saw it moving really fast. Not that I could keep track of it moving, but each time I'd look at it it seemed to be in a different position. And eventually it was on top of the ocean, while before it was above Europe. That was one of the things that made me notice it.

          But usually it seems to be on the same place...

          I'm confused :-\ I don't think this makes any sense at all...

          Is the ISS *always* moving?

          I think I need to take a picture of whatever I'm seeing...
          • Yeah, always. The ISS has to remain moving at the same speed because of the orbit it's in.

            As for Venus, since it's always near the horizon (since it's always near the sun, whether in the evening or morning), the change in its apparent position due to the rotation of the earth could well be noticeable. But if it's "moving" at the same speed as the sun, it's not moving at all.