Coming up Thursday thru Saturday we will have three mornings to see the Endeavour Space Shuttle and the International Space Station traversing through our morning sky. More importantly, this is the last time you’ll be able to see Endeavour in orbit. As the alarm goes off the sky will be dark, the rooster still 90 minutes away from crowing, and you’ll be in bed trying to convince yourself to put the feet on the floor. For those who hit the snooze button 5, 6, 7…22+ times each morning, it’ll only take one 5 minute snooze cycle to miss this 4 minute event. If it helps, I’ll be out there half asleep as well. So please, let me know if you will be too!
I would say to just wait for the video on Facebook or YouTube, but this is one of those rare occasions that a video or picture just doesn’t do the actual event justice. For those of us that will sideline quality sleep in the name of scientific geeky-ness … here’s some important information we will need:
4:50 am: Looking just over the southern horizon (Duration ~3 minutes)
5:12 am: Looking just over the west southwest horizon (Duration ~4 minutes)
4:03 am: Looking east southeast (Duration ~2 minutes)
I didn’t pick these three days at random. In fact, Thursday, Friday and Saturday present the best days to see Endeavour and the ISS traverse the sky. Should you decide to put it off until Monday, you will be setting the alarm for 3:16am instead of a more reasonable 4:03am. Additionally, Friday will have the longest transit time at 4 minutes. As mentioned in the video, it truly is something “different” when you watch these objects (they will look like one) literally come in and fly out of the horizon. Tough to explain, but well worth a little drowsiness before heading into work or school. Each morning it will be warm, it should be clear and it will be worth it. No excuses, ShuttleGaze like a champion this week! After wards, I’ll make us all some blueberry pancakes.
Below you will find a video I took as Endeavour lifted off the launch pad one final time. This was taken roughly 3 miles from the launch sight. Be sure to put your volume up so you can hear the actual countdown. As the shuttle went up it wasn’t so much hearing, but feeling the liftoff. If you plan on heading down to watch Atlantis launch July 8th be sure to let me know.