International Space Station flies near Scorpius, Mars, and Saturn on a hot summer night.
Three not-very-wise men wave at it as it passes by.
Its inhabitants didn’t wave back at us.
Still we are happy to have seen it.
Now it’s time for another night landscape. One of the good things of summer in my location is that the nights are so warm and clear that going out to watch the sky is easy and gratifying. After the bad luck we had last time trying to catch an Iridium flare, we decided to give it another try. One very bright iridium flare and two bright passes of the International Space Station (ISS) were programmed, so at least we would have something interesting to see.
This time we were luckier. We managed to get pictures of all the three events (some better than others). Iridium and other man made satellites are not very impressive by themselves, but the trail they leave can spice up a boring sky picture. In this case, a typical landscape of my area is decorated with the stars, and the ISS provides the difference with many other night pictures. Many people walk around this place every day, but I don’t believe that so many see it at night, taking time to watch the sky.
If you look closely, you can see some interesting things:
- International Space Station (ISS): Moving with a speed of 7.66 km/s, this space station completes a revolution around Earth every 92 minutes. It’s permanently occupied by astronauts who develop many research projects in low gravity conditions. Although it is not always visible from the surface, when it is appears in the sky as a bright white star that moves. So when you look at it, thinks that some people are there, in the space, working to advance in the boundaries of knowledge.
- Mars: The red planet (although it is not noticeable in the picture), and the closest one to ours. This bright point in the sky is easy to find in the night, even in the presence of light pollution.
- Scorpius: One of the constellations of the zodiac. It’s located near the center of the Milky Way. It was also depicted in A factory of life.
- Saturn: One of the biggest planets of our solar system. Its rings are a very nice view, so try to watch it with a little telescope.
- M7: An open cluster of stars known as the Ptolemy Cluster. It is 200 million years old and has 80 stars. Its composition is similar to the one in our Sun.
- 6- M6, the Butterfly Cluster. Seen with enough zoom resembles a butterfly. Although close to M7 in the sky they are really 800 light-years apart. This makes them independent clusters. But the stars that form both clusters are related, as all of them come from the same cloud of gas. This makes them gravitationally bound together and both travel in the same direction along the universe.
This picture is also included in my project “Landscapes from La Mancha”, a gallery that collects nice and artistic pictures of the region I live in. From “La Mancha”, the land of Don Quixote, there are many daylight pictures. Night landscapes, on the contrary, are not so abundant, but I believe that the sky and stars give a catchy point to those flat and arid landscapes.
Interested in watching the ISS or Iridium satellites from your location? You can find all the information in Heavens Above.