So this afternoon, when I got the NASA email alert:
"Wed Feb 26 6:12 PM, Visible: 6 min, Max Height: 80 degrees, Appears: NW, Disappears: SE"
I was Delighted! (see, I am Really Not That Hard to please me, honestly - I am a man of simple means, and modest proclivities)
I was out in my driveway, looking towards the NW, at 6:05pm. I had a wonderful Trader Joe's Vintage Ale in hand and my Lumix camera slung around my neck. I was determined to try and take a "HD quality" video, and if that didn't work, a "still photo" at 60X zoom (in "sunset mode" one can get the 24X zoom to go to a 60X optical zoom). The results are as follows:
Not as good as I had hoped for... or as good as looked through the view finder, where I could SWEAR I saw the distinct patterns of the solar cells... but maybe my mind fabricated that geometry. Sort of lackluster, visually. The view finder said it was "58.8X" (nearly 60X) so I was hoping for a higher resolution. Regardless, it was VERY COOL! My neighbor Sheri came by walking her old golden retriever, as she does every morning and evening, and I heard her ask behind me "whatcha looking at?" (my camera pointed up, almost 90 degrees, into the sky). I told her (excitedly) "The International Space Station, 200 miles up, hurting along at more than 2000 miles per hour" (I forgot the 17.250K mph actual speed) .. and pointed it out to her. At first she didn't see it.... and then she said "that looks like an airplane, are you sure?" "Yes, I am very sure, NASA sent me an alert, I know exactly what it is".
My neighbors must think I am nuts. Back in 2013, my SE Asian neighbor (I Think Steve & Stephanie are Laotian, but they might be Cambodian or Mung, I am not sure) Stephanie was watering her lawn and saw me staring up at the sky. I pointed out the space station hurtling westward, and she crossed the street to see why I appeared so fascinated and to see what I was seeing. By that time, it was near to the Eastern horizon, like the image below. Not much to see.
Neil deGrasse Tyson on Moyers and Company via DVR last night, I believe it is IMPOSSIBLE to Over-Emphasize the importance of Science and Engineering literacy / awareness / competence and De-emphasize mythology and superstition in the U.S. of A. I LOVE the FACT that I am able to SEE a scientific and technological marvel, fly over-head, predictably, safely, routinely, doing amazing & unappreciated work... while in the comfort and safety of my own driveway. Very cool, indeed.