September 25, 2011
Anyone else remember Mir up in the winter sky?
Last night around four am I woke up and looked out my laundry room back door too see what constellations were up, I love doing that during the night. When I looked out I saw Orion was well placed for observing and sirius was out just below. Then I remembered something very cool!
Twelve years ago during my first year of observing there used to be a big light to the Right and up a little, it would be there almost every night. Then I found out it was a satellite ... I completely forgot about that. there used to be a big star or something that was accompanying Orion and it twinkled. I looked at my star maps and it was not there. I looked it up online and it turned out to be Mir, the russian space station.
For three years I enjoyed Orion's glittery companion. After it was returned to Earth I missed seeing it out there for a couple of years, that was nice to be reminded of it! I also remember Ken Hewitt-White's article in the SkyNews magazine mentioning how he was going to miss going out too be greeted by what he called his winter night sky companion. At the time it was returning to Earth and he wrote a nice article on his enjoyment of it sitting by Orion.
So I was not the only one who enjoyed Mir's presence in the night sky! Just for old times sake let me end this article by saying what I used to say when I stepped out my door, which was "So what shall we explore tonight Mir?".