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  NASA: Do you know where the space station is?

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Author Topic:   NASA: Do you know where the space station is?
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-27-2009 04:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update
Do You Know Where Your Space Station Is?

Tired of those boring old tracking maps that show the space station going around and around the Earth, and wondering what the view from up there must be like?

Well, what better way to celebrate Earth Day than by taking a look at the Earth below from where the International Space Station is right now? Thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web (the Internet, that is), real-time tracking data beamed down from the space station and the fabulous catalog of NASA handheld orbital photography -- the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth -- you can do just that!

How it works, go to: Photos from the International Space Station

NASA's web site will check the telemetry from the space station and gather its exact latitude and longitude as it orbits about 200 miles over the Earth, traveling 17,500 miles an hour, making one full orbit every hour and a half. Using that information, the web site will check the extensive collection of images that have been taken from as far back as the Gemini Program, and return to you images of rivers, lakes, mountains, cities, railroads, ports, volcanoes, deserts and islands below.

Since the Earth's surface is three-quarters water, the web site will draw a virtual "box" around the latitude and longitude found, and expand that box if necessary to find some photos of land masses or islands that are nearby. Though taken at different times and under different sunlight than the current time, the images display the many facets of the Earth.

While this isn't exactly giving you an opportunity to remotely snap a picture from the space station, it's the next best thing - and you'll rarely get a picture of a cloudy day below!

gliderpilotuk
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Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-28-2009 05:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am confused.

There's no information on how often the photos are refreshed and unless you use this in combination with "those boring old tracking maps" (which, e.g. Heavens Above, happen to be better than anything NASA has produced), you will never stand a chance of seeing a photo of your locality, unless by chance.

Paul

hoorenz
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Posts: 733
From: The Netherlands
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 04-28-2009 05:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Russians have these auto refreshing pages (requires Java). One of those is a simple map, like we know, the other one is the exact orientation of the station itself (I believe line of sight is the Sun) including the exact position of the solar arrays.

Erik

Max Q
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Posts: 381
From: Whyalla South Australia
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 04-28-2009 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there any way of telling if the ISS is ever visible from a particular location?

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-28-2009 08:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gliderpilotuk:
...you will never stand a chance of seeing a photo of your locality, unless by chance.
Nor is this new NASA feature meant to provide that opportunity. If you want to learn when the ISS is over your neck of the woods (or world, as the case may be), then sites like Heavens Above or the Russian maps linked above can provide that service.

This new NASA site is simply meant to provide a neat, random way to see Earth photography; think of it in relation to the Astronomy Photo of Day, only this is Earth Photo of Moment.

jimsz
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Registered: Aug 2006

posted 04-28-2009 08:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Max Q:
Is there any way of telling if the ISS is ever visible from a particular location?
Go here: Human Space Flight - Realtime Data

gliderpilotuk
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Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-28-2009 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
This new NASA site is simply meant to provide a neat, random way to see Earth photography; think of it in relation to the Astronomy Photo of Day, only this is Earth Photo of Moment.
I got that - and I note the disclaimer: "Please note that this collection does not contain live images."

However, I don't see the relevance of the link to the ISS if the pics aren't live (or at least not 100% ISS-sourced) AND you can't relate to your location. I'd actually like to see what the astro/cosmonauts see when they're passing over my house!

I don't usually surf the net looking for screen-saver type of random images (though I'm sure others do) - and if I did, I may as well just go to Google Earth.

It just seems a missed opportunity to me, lacking any of the interactivity present in the rudely-disparaged "boring old tracking maps".

Paul

Max Q
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Posts: 381
From: Whyalla South Australia
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 04-28-2009 11:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jimsz:
Go here: Human Space Flight - Realtime Data
Thanks, that's what I need.

kosmonavtka
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Posts: 170
From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 04-29-2009 12:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kosmonavtka     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hoorenz:
The Russians have these auto refreshing pages (requires Java).
The tracking maps are, incidentally, from this page at the TsUP site.

hoorenz
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Posts: 733
From: The Netherlands
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 04-29-2009 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, that is the link I provided above (without the frames). This one (the other link I gave earlier) is very neat.

Erik

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