Satellite image shows snow, clear skies for this eve’s orbit of the International Space Station

The above image was taken today, Jan. 5, at about 11 a.m. by the Terra satellite, part of NASA’s Earth Observing System. And Pamela McCown, coordinator for the A-B Tech Institute for Climate Education, notes that “it shows that the skies are so clear over Western North Carolina that we can still see the areas of snow left from the snow event earlier this week.” That cold front blanketed the higher elevations with between 3 to 6 inches of snow.

After adding the location markers to give the image context, McCown sent it out to the Institute’s email list, noting that it should be a clear evening to catch a glimpse of the International Space Station. The station will pass over our region beginning at 6:33 p.m. and be visible for about 6 minutes, she says. It travels at a speed of over 17,000 mph, orbiting the Earth at an altitude of over 230 miles, according to McCown. She advises anyone interested in seeing it tonight to look in a north–northwest direction.

“You’re looking for a bright light, similar to Venus, that is visibly moving toward the south,” she explains. “Get out there and take a look, it’s really a cool thing.”

From Xpress freelance photographer Bill Rhodes:

Want to take pictures of it? This one was taken a few years ago. Get a tripod and point the camera in the general direction. You will want to be able to leave the shutter open. This exposure was about 20 seconds at ISO 400 with a 28mm lens at f8.


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