What did we see in the Kenyan sky?
April 13, 2009 7:03 AM   Subscribe

Did we see the International Space Station on Friday night from the beach in Malindi, Kenya?

So my buddy and I were watching the stars come out at just around 7pm local time on the central coast of Kenya. We're sitting there on the beach and there are a few stars showing in the early evening but not many.

All of a sudden, bright and very hard to miss, we saw what we concluded most likely was a satellite - it was definitely far away enough and too small to be a plane (and it wasn't blinking). We were fascinated, however, because it was also extremely bright - 2 to 3 times as much as we've both seen in normal satellites - which made it seem either very close or very large. Also, it seemed to be moving very fast, but slowed as it passed towards the horizon over the Indian ocean.

If it helps, looking straight up while facing east, the object in question seemed to be on a orbit with earth about 2-3 degrees south of the equator (so that if we saw it on the other side of the planet, from near the equator, I suppose it would look about 2-3 degrees north). Also, we waited outside the next night for about an hour around the same time and never saw it come by.

Could it have been the ISS? Are satellites potentially more visible from the equator for some reason? Is there something else it could have been - maybe space junk burning up on re-entry? Ideas welcome.
posted by allkindsoftime to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
its possible.

look at http://www.heavens-above.com/

they tell you when the ISS passes over a certain point of the earth. It stores the archives for the previous week or so
posted by TheOtherGuy at 7:09 AM on April 13, 2009

Best answer: yup... it seems it was :)
posted by TheOtherGuy at 7:12 AM on April 13, 2009

2nd from the bottom btw
posted by TheOtherGuy at 7:13 AM on April 13, 2009

Response by poster: Holy fastness. Thanks.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:40 AM on April 13, 2009

They just installed some new solar panels on the ISS, so now it's the second brightest object in the night sky. The brightest is the moon, of course.
posted by zsazsa at 8:12 AM on April 13, 2009

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