New Year Delight

On Saturday I went to North Wales to see in the New Year. The weather was awful with strong winds and rain, so it wasn't encouraging for scrambling or walking. However, on New Year's day, I went with some friends for a walk near the coast. I've not walked in that particular area before and it gives good views of Ynys Môn (Isle of Anglesey) as well as parts of Snowdonia. Although most of the day was spent under cloud, it stayed dry and I didn't get chance to test my new waterproof over-trousers! We even managed to use up all the available light arriving back at the car park at 5pm as it was getting fairly dark.

As we were taking our boots off and getting ready to leave, there were a few breaks in the cloud and we were able to admire the almost full Moon peeping through. Up to the right of it we could make out a single star which I now reckon must have been Capella based on its brightness and position. Suddenly, through a gap in the clouds in the south east - we had Ordnance Survey maps with us so I checked the direction afterwards - I spotted a bright light which appeared to be moving west to east. I didn't think it was a plane because I couldn't see any flashing wing lights and there isn't much in the way of air traffic around that area anyway. My best guess was that it was the International Space Station because I knew that it was visible from the UK in the early evenings over the Christmas and New Year period. Now, having got back home, I have been able to check heavens-above.com for 1st January and sure enough it was the ISS. Incidentally, I notice that some of the national newspapers now give predictions for the ISS and several satellites which is pretty cool.

I hadn't planned to see the International Space Station and it was only by chance that there was a break in the clouds in that part of the sky at that time. So, it was an unexpected delight that finished the day perfectly. Happy New Year everyone.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Tuesday 02nd Jan 2007 (17:53 GMT) | Permalink
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