Very Bright ISS over Nelson last night

April 22 2010

Want to see what something traveling at 27,724 km/h looks like as it goes past?

Courtesy of the clearer near winter skies around many parts of NZ, certainly in Nelson tonight, you can currently get a great view overhead. Last nights photo turned out to be a longer exposure than I was planning for, and a slight movement by me was magnified by the photo – must remember a tripod next time.

A few days ago before Shuttle Discovery landed, she was docked to the International Space Station and for that time it made for an even bigger target for the sun to shine off, and thus for all to see.

Hmmm like I said, must get a tripod shot of this one night. Although not a “photo competition winner” in any way, I was trying to depict just how much sky the ISS covers in just a few seconds of camera exposure, as it speeds across the sky between 278 km (173 mi) and 460 km (286 mi) altitude above your head.

However tonight was definitely one of the brightest I have seen in many years, and at 83 degrees was practically directly overhead.

Curious to see for yourself from your own local spot and get a report like this one below whenever a naked eye sighting is possible?

First up you have to be on Twitter because the application is “location aware” and that’s how it works out where you are viewing from (long as you are at the same place you were when you registered on Twitter)

Ok,  go to Twisst here…….and just follow the easy instructions.

You’ll get a daily update like this one above that I get for Nelson. You’ll only get one if there is a possible viewing with the naked eye.

Many parts of New Zealand are famed by those  “astronomically inclined” because of the clear night skies we have down under. In many parts of the northern hemisphere, especially in Europe there is so much light pollution at night that it makes it difficult for one to follow such a hobby.

Over the years I’ve actually had two separate European buyers request that exact requirement near the top of their Property Purchase priorities – in fact one had it as the Number One stipulation.

VIDEO – further info and pics here

I said before other parts of NZ, places like the area around Lake Tekapo are world famous for their clear night skies. The above video was taken earlier this month and shows quite clearly that you can see the “Southern Lights” (Aurora Australis) from this part of the South Island of New Zealand.


4th August – Plans for world starlight heritage reserve in Mackenzie a step closer after Brasilia meeting.