It’s a wonderful thing for children to look up to their fathers, but some kids have to look a little further than others — especially when dad is in command of the International Space Station!
Around 6 p.m. EST on February 14, the ISS passed over southern New England, and for a few brief moments the Station was directly above Rhode Island, at 37 miles wide the smallest state in the US. 240 miles up and heading northeast at 17,500 mph, the ISS quickly passed out of sight for anyone watching from the ground, but it was enough time for Heidi and Anthony Ford to get a view of the place where their father Kevin Ford has been living and working since the end of October… and thanks to Brown University’s historic Ladd Observatory and astronomer Robert Horton they got to see the Station up close while talking to their dad on the phone.
So what happened this morning? Oh not much… just watched CAPTAIN KIRK TALK WITH AN ASTRONAUT IN ORBIT, THAT’S ALL!
Yes, it’s true. Today, Feb. 7, William Shatner called in to the Space Station as it flew 240 miles over the southern Atlantic Ocean and chatted for a bit with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who graciously answered Bill’s questions on being an astronaut and the challenges of space flight. A recording of the event is above — check it out! After all, busy starship captains and space station commanders don’t get together very often.
I captured the Space Station careening toward the Hunter on the night of March 2, 2012, just a little after 7:50 pm. A half-moon illuminated the event… who won? Well, let’s just say Orion’s still up there and the ISS faded away shortly after!
(I’m sure they’ll be back for another go! They’re a plucky bunch.)
Image taken with a Nikon D7000 and 18mm lens. 30s exposure, 1000 ISO, f/9.
Image © Jason Major.
Here’s a view from the ISS, looking down at the brightly-lit Chicago metropolitan area on February 2, 2012. Lake Michigan is the dark expanse seen below the clouds — perhaps a dense fog bank — at bottom center.
According to NASA, fog is not common in the Great Lakes area this time of the year as it’s usually too windy (the “Windy City”!) but this has been an exceptionally mild winter. The faint gold line of airglow — caused by ultraviolet radiation from the Sun exciting gas molecules in the upper atmosphere — can be seen just above the horizon. Minor auroral activity is visible in upper right.
And since we’re here, heres some fun facts about Chicago: Read the rest of this entry
Can’t see the video below? Click here.
One of the latest uploads to the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth site, this short-but-oh-so-sweet video shows the view from the Space Station as it passes over Africa, Madagascar and the southern Indian Ocean at night on December 29, 2011. Multiple lightning storms flash over Africa while the Milky Way rises majestically behind the thin line of Earth’s atmosphere, capped by a greenish layer of airglow. Also making an appearance is Comet Lovejoy, at the time two weeks after its near-fatal sunburn. It can be made out rising near the Milky Way’s right side, its faint tail vertical.