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NZ to get a good view of Shuttle, Space Station

New Zealand to get a good view of the Shuttle and Space Station

New Zealand will get a good view of the Shuttle Endeavour both before and after rendezvous with the Space Station.

The first opportunity is Friday morning 9 August when the Shuttle and Space Station will be flying close together and will pass to the NorthEast of New Zealand. They will be visible low in the North for most of the North Island and also the Northern South Island. The Space Station will appear from about 5:33 a.m New Zealand time with the Shuttle following about 3 minutes later. Expect to see two bright lights moving quite rapidly fairly low in the sky heading from the NorthEast towards the East.

On Saturday morning the Shuttle and Space Station are due to dock at 5:50 New Zealand time, just before they pass over the North Island. If weather permits it should be possible for most or all of New Zealand to see them together from around 5:55.

If docking has occurred according to plan there will only be one light and it should be quite bright as a result of the two spacecraft being joined together.

Binoculars are recommended for the most detailed view although there is no difficulty seeing the spacecraft without them. Because of the rapid motion of the craft telescopes are of no value for observing these events unless they are used with computer tracking.

Sites which can be used for further information on visible passes in your area:

http://www.heavens-above.com
http://www.calsky.com

A real time tracker is at

http://www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/tracking/index.html

Updates on the mission can be obtained from:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html

and

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts118/status.html


The docking and other significant events are covered on NASA-TV:

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/


[FURTHER NOTE TO EDITOR: owing to camera problems I don't have equipment to photograph this, the double pass tomorrow morning has great potential with a fast enough exposure and some magnification which does not have too much distortion: as it is dark but just before dawn, should look good.]


ENDS

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