Identifying flying objects in the sky
Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 25, 2017
While waiting in line to purchase lunch Friday morning, a local resident posed an intriguing inquiry. She asked if I had ever noticed a strange object in the sky at about 7 p.m.
Perplexed, I asked for more information. What she described did not sound like something from the
X-Files, but more like a satellite or possibly the International Space Station.
Her inquiry had me thinking, however. What if it’s something not so easily explained?
A quick search of images on the Internet proved that what she described could very well be the ISS passing overhead. But still, maybe not.
As it turns out, according to NASA.gov, it couldn’t have been the ISS. Because at this time of year the man-made object currently orbiting our planet is only visible early in the morning.
Now completely sidetracked, I discovered that the space agency’s website houses a plethora of information about how to spot the largest man-made satellite ever made.
If you navigate to https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/, and click on the link entitled “How do I Spot the Station?” it will provide some very interesting information., such as it travels at a speed exceeding 17,000 miles per hour.
Further down that page is another link, “Spot The Station’s sighting opportunities page.” On this page click the circles until you get to an area as close as possible to your current location.
Once you’ve selected a location, it will provide a table of the next 10 possible times to see the station, which is currently between 6 a.m. and just before 5 a.m. And, since it is traveling so fast, it’s only visible for mere minutes, usually between two to six. The next time it will be visible in our area will be Sunday, at about 6:03 a.m. for about two minutes.
But, I have failed to solve the mystery of the strange object in the sky at 7 p.m. Maybe that’s something for Mulder and Scully to check into after all.