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Walking on the Moon

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This evening, between 19:08 and 19:11 UTC I saw the ISS and STS-119 pass low to the South (about 20° altitude). They were separated by (I estimate) about 2° of arc - maybe 4 or 5 seconds (though I wasn't timing the separation). I've never seen them this close before, the closest before this was just after Columbia undocked on its way to its fiery demise in February 2003 when they were separated by about 40 seconds.

This evening's observation was fortuitous. I had meant to check visibility earlier but had forgotten to do so before going out for a run. When I got back my wife, who had seen the local weather forecaster on TV mention this pass, told me - and I had got in with about 3 minutes to spare. I tried to check on Heavens-Above but with no luck as the server was too busy. I had to rush out with binoculars and radio-controlled clock to wait. Through the thin, high cloud here I just managed to see them at 19:08:50, and followed them with the 10x30 binoculars.

I am so pleased about this, not only because of the spectacle but because this counts towards my still-unfinished EOSOC pin as one of my formation satellite observations. What with this and seeing Omid (2009-004A) the other morning, satellite observing has been good of late. :)

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