The sky was just beautiful as I walked the dog last night, and afterwards, it sparked a nice conversation on the local repeater. The giant constellation Orion is prominent, Canis Major is at his heels, along with Sirus, the brightest star in the sky. But the BIG show is the two prominent planets (Venus and Jupiter) which are leading these two constellations.
Jupiter is my favorite planet to view because you can see four of it's moons with a simple pair of binoculars. Every night they line up differently; sometimes two on each side, sometimes three on one side and one on the other, sometimes all four on one side etc.
There are many things in the night sky which can also be seen with the naked eye but I think the "International Space Station" is at the top of the list for ham radio operators.
If you're lucky, you can talk to it with a handi-talkie as it crosses the sky. If you look closely, that's a "handi-talkie", on her right wall, which is being used my the astronaut as she talks to hams on earth.
Being able to "see" the International Space Station it is an advantage to you, and at times, it's quite "Bright". Although I've never worked the ISS , I've dropped a letter in the "packet mail box" of the Russian MIR station when it was orbiting the earth. I used a handi-talkie, a "personal data assistant" (PDA) which I carried in my shirt pocket, and a small hand held beam. Being able to "see" it was a great advantage, as I sat in a "cow pasture" and followed it across the night sky. The cows all applauded at my success.....
The numbers you see below come from a German web site called Heavens-Above. It's under the "ham radio sites of interest". I have a link to it on the right side of this blog. --->
What these numbers tell you is that on March 19th, 2012, the International Space Station will be visible to the "naked eye", in Charleston West Virginia, for approximately 5 minutes, as it travels almost straight overhead, from the Southwest to the Northeast, between 6:19 AM and 6:23 AM. Learn how to use a compass, synchronize your watch from the GMT website (or use the nightly news broadcast to accurately set your watch) and join in on the fun. With a little luck, you might even be able to say "Hi".
There's lot of "stuff" in space which can be seen with the "naked eye" as it orbits the earth. I placed the "Heavens-Above" link on my blog, many years ago, because it makes it easy to find and share them with others who might be interested in the ham radio hobby.
Several people in the valley will be watching for the next good pass now. The conversation on the local repeater was a good one.
I hope the skies are clear!