Watch a satellite fly over!
You can watch satellites pass by from your own backyard! Go to the website “Heavens-Above” to find out when and where to look. Here’s how to get pass predictions for your location:
Near the top of the page, select your location by clicking on “from database”. From there click on “United States”, and then type in the name of your town. It knows Alamosa, Monte Vista, Creede, and lots of other towns in and around the San Luis Valley. After you’ve typed in the name of the town, it will show you a list of towns by that name – you just click on the one that’s yours. It will then take you back to the homepage, and you’re ready to find out when to look for satellites!
Click on “10 day predictions for ISS” to find out when you can watch the International Space Station fly by. Under “Iridium Flares”, click on “next 7 days” to learn when and where to look for one of the most impressive satellite pass events there is – they briefly can be 40 times brighter than Venus! Just make sure your watch is set accurately – they are VERY short events. Or, under “Daily predictions for all satellites”, click on “3.5” to get a list of all the brightest satellite passes for your home in one evening.
Download a Star Chart
You can download a free star chart from SkyMaps.com. These are the best free star charts I’ve ever found! Download a new one every month.
Other Astronomical Events of Interest
Below is a list of upcoming astronomical events that may be of interest to astronomy enthusiasts. I found these events by perusing Jean Meeus’ “Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon, and Planets” (*), as well as NASA’s eclipse page (http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html), and other web resources.
Date Event Visible From… Time
2015 Sept 27 Total lunar eclipse Alamosa 7:07 – 10:27
2015 Dec 7 Venus occultation Alamosa 2:38 – 3:45
2016 May 9 Mercury transit Alamosa sunrise – 12:44
2017 Aug 21 Total solar eclipse Wyoming/Nebraska 10:23 – 1:12
2019 Nov 11 Mercury Transit Alamosa sunrise – 12:05
I am sure there are events that I have missed. If you know of any, let me know about it, and I’ll investigate.
(*) 2nd ed., ISBN 0-943396-45-X, 1995, Willmann-Bell, Inc. (http://www.willbell.com/)