May 04, 2010

Objects In The Sky.

On Sunday evening, as I was talking with that handsome man in Ireland, discussing current events as we usually do, I happened to gaze out of my large living room window. Even though the remains of another magnificent spring sunset still lingered in form of a red line above the horizon in the northwest, the southwest which I was facing, appeared by now dark.

That is when I saw it. It took me a few seconds to piece together the visual information received at that very moment with the one I read online a few days ago. Still, eventually I knew exactly what I was looking at. It was a sight like I have never witnessed before.

A majestic bright object, resembling the biggest star that I have ever seen, was moving across the dark sky. Without a sound, effortlessly and with a constant speed, it was crossing the southwest horizon as the largest object in the jet black heavens. If I did not know better, I could have sworn I was witnessing a UFO sighting.
However, I was seeing the International Space Station (ISS), definitely an 'identified flying object' and a man made one as well. Additionally, right after the moon, the largest orbiter of our Earth. I was holding my breath as it moved in a easterly direction, feeling very fortunate to have gazed out of my windows at the exactly right moment, to watch something that is rare and to me - extremely enticing.

Those of you who have read my many posts in the past know well that I am infinitely fascinated by the evening sky. There is nothing more captivating than watching the dark blanket above us, covered with zillions light specks of varied size and intensity. Knowing they are all part of distant and not so distant galaxies intrigues me. There is no other time, when the space seems more infinite and vast, then under the dark veil of the night.
I fall asleep under the shine of stars, as I watch them in my roof top window. If I gaze at that small part of heavens for a short while, I can witness shooting stars and orbiting satellites. But I have never seen the Space Station until now.

Such a sighting is indeed rare and requires specific conditions to be in place. As stated by the wikipedia: "The station must be above the observer's horizon, and it must pass within about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) of the observation site (the closer the better). It must be dark enough at the observer's location for stars to be visible, and the station must be in sunlight rather than in the Earth's shadow."

Operated as a joint project between the five participant space agencies, the ISS serves as a research laboratory that has a microgravity environment in which crews conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy and meteorology. The ISS is operated by Expedition crews; as of 18 March 2010, the crew of Expedition 23 is aboard.

My sighting of the Space Station the other night is the closest that I have come to observe something out of the ordinary in the skies. Except for one summer afternoon last year, when white, semi transparent globe moved high above me in an organized fashion; constant speed and direction. I gazed at it for a long time trying to solve its origins; perhaps it was a balloon or something else that can easily be explained. But perhaps not. Eventually, the fascination lies in the unexplained.

What about you, have any of you ever seen something infinitely intriguing, either identified or unidentified in the skies?


Unknown said...

you were at the window at the right time. lucky you! I will be back to read what everyone writes about their objects in the sky. I don't think I have seen anything strange. great post!!

Avo said...

The strange things I see in the sky are of my own devising.
Did you try taking a picture of the station?
Sounds like an interesting experience. : j

Brian Miller said...

how cool. i am fascinated wth the night going to planeteriums...have never seen a ufo that i know of, although i did wake up one morning in college...but that was not

Anonymous said...

Wow, lucky you! Great post, Zuzana! Maybe they should have attached a mirror up there so we all could see each other down here...hee hee.. Have a great day!
:)The Bach

Anonymous said...

What an amazing sight to have witnessed... I think I'd have panicked, called everyone I knew and been on the front page of the local news the following day saying that I had seen a UFO!!

Sukanya said...

Wow what a lovely experience. Definitely gazing at the sky makes us realize how wonderful and lovely this universe is right?? As for me, I definitely haven't seen an UFO, but have once seen this bright orangish-red colored star, nice round in shape, something like a tiny little tennis ball. Some said that was Mars, but i dont know till now how true that was.

Have a nice day Zuzana.


Claus said...

When something is close to Earth, and advertised greatly in newspapers for us citizens of the world to see, the sky is always overcasted :-( so no, no luck yet it seeing anything out of the ordinary in the sky...and I look up constantly ;-)
have a great day!

Anonymous said...

How exciting! I love sky gazing at night, but haven't had any close encounters : )

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

I think this was a very unique sighting! GOOD FOR YOU...and how awesome!

I have never seen anything unique but since living in the country side can SO APPRECIATE the star formations...I missed them when NOT in the wide open space of country living.

sprinkles said...

How fascinating! I don't know that I would've known what I was looking at and it probably would've freaked me out for days!

My father would be so jealous of you! He has a large telescope that he uses now and again and he enjoys reading about stars and planets. He shows me pictures of space now and again and says, "Isn't it pretty?" And yes, it is!

I haven't ever seen anything up in the night sky beyond just stars. My father claims to have once seen a UFO long before I was born. My brother says he saw one too when he was little. I don't know if they really did or not.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Zuzana, That's so incredibly exciting! I am almost envious! I have always loved fascinating...and have wanted to purchase an expensive telescope for my deck for of these days, I will. Truly an extraordinary opportunity for you! And you have described it so beautifully, I feel I observed it with you...Love, Janine XO

Donna said...

Wow, what a sighting! That's amazing.


Harnett-Hargrove said...

Oh, how we have looked and looked at different times for the ISS... did not know the list of 'conditions' was this long! -J

Hilary said...

That's so exciting. I'm so happy for you that you got to see it - and it's particularly cool that you saw it by chance and figured out what you were witnessing. The only unexplained oddity that I've ever seen was an incredibly bright, high-speed flash of light seem to come at me from the side, and then continue past me in a matter of 2 seconds. I was outside in my back yard at the time and it was much too close to be a shooting star. I was a teen at the time, but hadn't consumed anything to enhance the experience. ;) It was startling and shocking and I could almost be convinced that it was my imagination.. except it wasn't. :)

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

How strange to read your post. A couple of nights ago as I walked the dog out before bed, I saw the largest "star" I've ever seen in the southwest sky. I watched it, at first thinking it was an airplane, as it seemed to "move", but it never left my view, even after several minutes. After reading your post today, I again looked to the evening skies as I took the dog out, and there it was again in the same place!!! I called my husband to come out to see--at first he said it was a plane, but standing with me and watching, he concluded it wasn't going anywhere!!! We're both puzzled at to what we saw! I think it's an interesting thought to wonder if there is intelligent life out there, but it kind of frightens me. Reminds me of the old Twilight Zone television series. Scared the life out of me!

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Snowbrush said...

Years ago, I owned a small airplane. One evening I was about to land at a tiny uncontrolled airport when I saw what I took to be the landing lights of another airplane coming at me from the other end of the runway. I aborted the landing only to realize that what I had seen was Venus. I've never since seen it so bright.

Absolutely Ladylike said...

How lucky your are dearest Zuzana...I've never seen anything like this before...perhaps I should look at the sky more often :-) I'm so happy for your wonderful experience!

Hope your week is lovely so far...

Much love: Evi

Paul C said...

Yes, I have seen several satellites in the deep night sky. By focusing directly above I see occasionally a moving white light. It's always exciting to see it.

Anonymous said...

Zuzanna how fascinating and informational. I have never seen anything in the sky, unusual. I am going to go look up that site after I return from a photography jaunt for FSO, this week it is Things We Love Touch. Could be interesting. Love ya girl.

Dianne said...

how exciting to see the space station!!

clouds fascinate me
it's too light here at night for much contemplation of the night sky

thanks for visiting my petals post

Sharon Lovejoy said...

For me the most exciting and fascinating things have been watching bolides fall into the sea and watching the Aurora Borealis over the bay in Maine.

Love to you,


Zuzana said...

Doreen, Alesa, Brian, The Bach, Eternally…, Sukanya, Claudia, LadyCat, Jill, sprinkles, Janine, Donna, H-H, Hilary, C or V, Snowbrush, Evi, Paul, QMM, Dianne and Sharon - thank you all for stopping by and sharing with me your strange sightings of the known and unknown.;) How very interesting that only few of you have seen anything unusual; I guess the UFOs are less frequent than we think.;)

Your visits and kind words are always very much appreciated.


Reading Tea Leaves said...

How exciting! What a stroke of luck to be gazing out of the window just at the right time ... Great post Zuzana.

I've never personally seen anything strange in the night sky but nearby Rendlesham Forest was the venue for some unexplained sightings and the alleged landing of UFO in 1980!! The incident became known as 'Britain's Roswell' and it was made into a film. Fascinating stuff!