Originally Posted by Villages PL
This morning I went outside at about 6:10 am to get my newspaper. As I turned to come back toward the house (walking east) I looked up and saw what at first looked like a bright star. But almost instantly I realized it was too big and bright to be a star and there were no other stars in the sky.
It was not blinking or flickering and did not appear to be moving. It also did not have a distinct or perfect round shape. It was very much like a bright light coming from a star.
I went into the house to get my binoculars but it really didn't help as far as being able to see what it was. After about 5 minutes or so I realized it was getting smaller because it was moving away to the east (perhaps slighty southeast) So I kept watching until finally it was just a small dot in the sky. By that time it was 6:30 am.
What was it? Did anyone else see it?
The International Space Station
was visible over central Florida on Dec. 2nd from 6:19 to 6:25 AM, headed NW to SE, then again on Dec. 3rd from 5:31 to 5:35 AM, headed NNE to ESE. The brightness on these passes (mag 3.3 and mag 2.4, respectively) were among the highest it gets. When it fades, it's moving into the earth's shadow (or behind a cloud) and just disappears.
It can be seen with the naked eye and moves at a pretty good clip especially if stars are visible too, which gives you a good stationary reference. It takes about 5 minutes to cross the sky, doing 17,239 mph. It's about 250 miles up and can't be seen in daylight or darkness, only at morning and evening dusk. The Hubble Telescope
(and other smaller satellites) can also be seen, but theyr'e not nearly as bright as reflection off the panels on the ISS
The next bright pass (mag 3.5) of the ISS
is on Sunday, Dec. 9th from 6:40 to 6:45 PM (not AM) headed SW to NE and goes almost directly overhead.
Best to stay away from street lights and find a dark area for the best view.