Monday, June 09, 2008

Watching the high darkness . . .

And BOOM, there it was! Up in the sky, right on time. Precisely on time.

Late evening, 8JUN2008. I was set up on the tool box of my truck, 8x40 binoculars in hand, glancing at my watch occasionally. Then, there was a BRIGHT light peeking out from behind a tree, kind of, no, Exactly to the northwest. Moving? Yes, moving FAST. I fine tuned the focus of my glasses. I couldn't make out any detail - - It was just a very bright, white light. Did I say it was fast? I've seen jet aircraft at low altitude go across my sky faster, but never with any altitude. I watched it the entire sweep. I was a little close to the trees to my immediate SE, but the light was dimming rapidly at that point. I lost it behind the trees about the time it got too dim to see.

I had seen the International Space Station, with the Space Shuttle Discovery docked. Real time, no video, no film - - live action from outer space, boys and girls.

Total duration of this viewing? Maybe 40 seconds, perhaps over 50. Who cares? I saw it. It was very worthwhile. My thanks to Elder Son for giving me the time and spotting information. I was kind of, sort of, uh, PROUD, in a strange way. I've been quietly advocating for the space program since before we really HAD such a thing.

I've been disappointed that the effort got stalled for so long. But this, this was tangible, visible evidence that we DO have human beings up there, out beyond the atmosphere. Okay, maybe not in way far, DEEEEP Space, but, right on out there. And the dream lives on.

I climbed down from my truck bed and headed into the house. I was smiling.

I hope your evening went as well.

JPG

6 comments:

HollyB said...

I met 2 of Diana's NASA friends this weekend at the wedding. One is from the Kennedy Campus and one from the Johnson Campus. I asked the woman, Elaine about one of her tatoos [looked like a 'formula' to me]. She told me she could tell me what it meant but she'd have to kill me ;)
Then she told me all the old timers at Kennedy had that tat...it was from the Shuttle lift off. All the old timers from Johnson had one, that was for Landings. "We send 'em up, they bring 'em down."
Then she laughed and said, No it's actually Chinese for "Harmony>"
I'd have bought the "Lift off/Landings" tats...that's soooo much kewler than Chinese. ANYBODY can go out and get a Chinese tat. V.V. few folks can geet a NASA tat, tho.

phlegmfatale said...

Awww, i preferred the takeoff/landing story, too. A NASA tat would rock. Then there'd be fake wannabe NASA engineers on the internet, doing youtuoob vids like the fake Seals. *ahem*

Anyhoo, it was really cool of Matt to tell you about it, JPG, and cool of you to make the effort to take a gander at it. Sounds fun, actually.

DW said...

Friends,
Yall probably already know this, but you can go to NASA's website and get a prediction when the station will be in your sky, where to look, and real time where it is now. They also have streaming video and audio of things like space walks. You can see what they see, right on your computer.
DW

Assrot said...

You had me going there for a moment JPG. I thought you were going to tell me that you saw a UFO. I know there seems to be a lot of mysterious sightings out west. I was thinking "No, not JPG. He couldn't be one of those Roswell kooks."

I wiped the sweat off my brow and thanked God when you said "Space Station".

Good one JPG.

Joe

P.S. - I've been star gazing for well over a half century with a 12"Schmidt-Cassegrain" scope. I have never once seen anything that looks like a UFO.

SpeakerTweaker said...

Great post. Romantic, even. Science does take us back every once in a while, especially when we can see it from a few miles DOWN.



tweaker

farmist said...

"Then she told me all the old timers at Kennedy had that tat...it was from the Shuttle lift off."

Holly, if it has anything to do with the Shuttle, it has nothing to do with the "old-timers". My uncle was an "old-timer", worked on the Saturn V. His grandson works on the shuttle.