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Can you see a laser pointer from the space station?

paul1598419

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Oh, I'm certain they have great ground tracking equipment on the ISS. But, whether it can be used to point a small laser at a patch of ground may be more complicated than just putting it on an arm and letting the tracking system aim it. IDK enough about what they are using to know what it would actually take.
 

Kookapeli

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I saw a YouTube vid of someone shining a 2W 445 and could clearly see it
 

GSS

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Had a fun morning today..
I got to see Venus at around 4:30 when I got up until light came out with the naked eye. No star's just the planet and then at around 7:02 I saw a 4 minute fly by of the ISS.
Totally unplanned and when I was curious of first seeing Venus I logged on to the ISS local sighting link and saw it was scheduled:)
I'm a city guy so it was pretty cool;)
 

CurtisOliver

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Had a fun morning today..
I got to see Venus at around 4:30 when I got up until light came out with the naked eye. No star's just the planet and then at around 7:02 I saw a 4 minute fly by of the ISS.
Totally unplanned and when I was curious of first seeing Venus I logged on to the ISS local sighting link and saw it was scheduled:)
I'm a city guy so it was pretty cool;)
Excellent, two great sights in one morning. :)
 

GSS

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Excellent, two great sights in one morning. :)
For the next week there are about 4 ISS sighting's scheduled in my area that have a 3 to 4 minute window of viewing, even a few more shorter runs..
I wish I did have a pair of decent binocular's to maby see some more detail though. My only 2 sightings are pretty cool don't get me wrong but it just looks like a quiet no trail smoke wingless airplane crossing the sky quickly..
 

CurtisOliver

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Yep, a moving white dot. :p It's quite fascinating to watch.
I have the Night Sky app on my phone which alerts me when there is a ISS flyover about to start.
 

GSS

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Yep, a moving white dot. :p It's quite fascinating to watch.
I have the Night Sky app on my phone which alerts me when there is a ISS flyover about to start.
Have you used any type of scope's to see better? Any better detail than a "white dot"?:LOL:
 

CurtisOliver

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No I haven't unfortunately. :D A white dot is the best view I've had. The only optics I have is a crude PVC telescope I made myself. Probably alright for viewing stationary objects but not for moving ones. :)
 

paul1598419

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I get a pretty good view of Venus from my porch at night during some times of the year, but the light pollution will likely keep me from ever seeing the ISS as it orbits the earth. I can't see tracking it with an inexpensive telescope, so being able to see it with naked eyes is my best option if it will ever happen.
 

Benm

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I live in a city with a fair (but not extreme) amount of light pollution and never have any problems seeing venus when it's out there with the naked eye. Jupiter was pretty visible last year as well, but that depends mostly on position since i only have windows and balconies facing south and west.

The problem with the ISS to me is not that it's all that dim, but you need to know exactly where to look and it transitions from horizon so rapidly you could easily miss it despite it being very visible. You basically need to see it within seconds to track in passing over, whereas with something like venus you have all the time you want to find it in the night sky if you know the general direction to look at. Perhaps it'll take you 5 minutes to locate - a timespan by which the ISS passes over completely.
 

paul1598419

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When Venus is in the night sky here it is quite bright and can be seen even in a lot of light pollution. The ISS is only in the sky for a short period of time unless you have a view from horizon to horizon. That is almost never the case and because it is small, one needs to know exactly where to look and when. I would like to try to get a glimpse of it sometime, but I have no idea when or where to look. I guess I'll have to do a Google search and see.
 

paul1598419

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Thanks, Peter. I will look over this when I have more time. In skimming it I see it is only visible from horizon to horizon for 21 degrees out of 360. I learned back in Newtonian physics that orbits take 90 minutes, so I've known this most of my life. So, 5 minutes is the longest time the ISS is visible to anyone on earth.
 

Benm

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5 minutes is the upper limit indeed, and that's only when it's coming straight over your head and you can see horizon to horizon.

I live in a highrise that gives me almost horizon to horizon vision (depending on which directions) but even then it usually doesn't fly over near 90 degrees. I've seen it a few times from the balcony, but the whole thing is over in 2 to at best 3 minutes in most cases.

Currently conditions are not favorable at all with transit times very early in the morning and cloudy weather as well... but in summer it can be quite visible just after sunset if it passes over here. It all has to do with angle too though, it's brightest when the solar panels on the reflect back at you, which only happens just after sunset on the ground (i.e. it's still light up 400 km up).

When it's dark on the ISS they orient the panels such that they produce minimum drag instead of making them face the sun at an optimal angle to catch light.
 




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