OA-6 (3/22/2016)

OA-6 (3/22/2016)

lear skies for the last few nights, a full moon with Jupiter in formation. Wanted to check these out with the telescope but just no time.

But tonight…

Standing out in the back yard, my father’s old wristwatch hanging easy (I can read it by starlight), the big Orion astronomy nocks around my shoulders. OA-6, an Atlas-V on an ISS resupply mission, was launching at 11:04 pm. I’d never gone out and shot a glance at something like this – with clear skies, I’d be able to see just where it was going up from.

Got out about twenty minutes early. Looked at the moon (I really need a filter for this, so it was literally painfully beautiful). When my eyes recovered, I looked at Jupiter – could see the moons fanned out as usual, a wonderful sight. Checked out my old fav Orion and its nebula. Made out the twins, the big dipper, all those things. Wandered around the back yard, leaning to hold the nocks better, focusing them on stars, leaning to bring them up and quickly lock on planes.

Saw a shooting star that fell like a burning basketball to the east.

As time drew nearer, I found a place in the garden, up close to the fence where I’d get a maximum eastern sweep. And waited.

After some time, it became apparent they we running late.

But since I’m not a millennial, I stuck it out for a few more minutes and suddenly there it was, coming up like an inverted highway flare, further to the left than I’d anticipated, and since this was an ISS job with an orbital match, it was burning north. Still, I got a lot of good viewing in. Once it went behind the oak we’d so lovingly planted ten years ago, I moved around to the north side of the yard but there are simply too many tress. Lost it.

But still, wonderful viewing from right outside.