Tonight after soccer practice, we all headed up to the top of the Mound for which our town was named. We wanted a good spot to view the night sky and this spot is ideal, except for the bright lights in the Tom Thumb parking lot. There are always lots of planes flying over our town and it's fun to watch those lights fly across the sky but tonight we were looking for two specific lights, flying much higher than the planes and travelling together in a specific path.
Around 8:12 tonight we saw them. The International Space Station AND the Discovery Shuttle flew over our heads. The Discovery had undocked from the ISS around 2:30 this afternoon and they are visible together for the next few days until the Discovery lands back on Earth. They were visible to us from about 8:11 to 8:17 tonight and they travelled from the WSW to the NE reaching a peak of about 57 degrees. Although they were just two dots in the sky, it was still amazing to watch as they travelled the world at about 17,000 - 18,000 mph.
We came home and found some great pictures of the ISS and the shuttle on the NASA website to show Nicholas what he had just seen. Here's a great video animation of a shuttle docked at the ISS as it works on building it. It was a good video to help Nicholas understand how they dock together and what the shuttle can do for the station. There are tons more great photos and videos of the ISS and shuttle on this NASA site so take a few minutes and look around.
Click HERE for more info on seeing the ISS and Discovery overhead.
Stuart and I talked some tonight about how amazing it is that mankind has made such incredible advances in technology that we can not only go to the moon but we have a space station where people can actually live in space. And to think that electricity was only created about 150 years ago. Look how far we have come in such a short period of time. Amazing!