Your Own Online Satellite Tracking Station
9 January 2001 Edition|
With the attachment of the latest set of solar panels, the International
Space Station (ISS) has become one of the brightest man-made objects in
the night sky and can be clearly seen from the ground when lighting conditions
But how do you know when it (or any other satellites) are about to pass
Well those nice guys at NASA have several online tools designed to tell you
where a range of orbiting trinkets are at any time.
They all live at the
NASA Liftoff website
where you'll find several pages, including some that provide live, realtime
displays using Java applets.
For example, I see that the next pass of the ISS over New Zealand is at 8:43pm
tonight when its orbit will take it almost directly over Wellington. Unfortunately
the evening sky may still be a little too light at that time to see the station
as it passes overhead but it's still worth checking out.
If you want to see what's happening to NASA's main array of orbiting hardware
this realtime display applet is truly excellent -- showing nine satellites,
their paths and their next pass over any location on the face of the globe.
One of the reasons I thought I'd bring this to readers' attention is not just
because it's cool technology (having your own desktop satellite tracking system
that is) but also because it's worth remembering that the Russians are planning
to ditch MIR into the sea some 1,500 miles east of Australia sometime next
Guess what else is about 1,500 miles east of Australia?
It might be nice to know when MIR could pass overhead for the last (and
possibly lowest) time eh?
On the weekend Microsoft founder Bill Gates unveiled his company's answer
to the Sony Playstation in the form of the X-Box.
It will be extremely interesting to watch exactly how Microsoft handles
the marketing and merchandising of this machine.
While some commentators are claiming that MS will have an up-hill job
trying to unseat Sony as the dominant force in the games console marketplace,
it should be remembered that they have entered new markets and unseated
the leading players in those markets before (anyone remember Netscape?
Should Sony be scared?
What do you think?
Where's My Digital VCR?
I see a story published by Wired.com this morning which talks about digital
VHS as an alternative to DVD -- something which I've been wondering about
for some time now.
Why, when you can pick up a digital camcorder for under $2,000, can't I buy
a digital VCR for $1K or so?
Give the many benefits of the digital format I'm wondering why I don't see
high-end (SVHS and top-line VHS) machines replaced by digital versions.
These recorders could also very easily act as high quality multi-track DAT
recorders for audio, offering yet another benefit for the avid audio-videophile.
Is this simply an attempt by manufacturers to keep high-quality AV recording
technologies out of the reach of the consumer for fear of piracy?
What do you think?
Aardvark Weekly, Have You Got Yours?
The first Aardvark Weekly of 2001 will go out tonight -- at which time
I'll also be tidying up the subscription list.
If you haven't received YOUR copy by Wednesday am then please drop me
a line and I'll make sure you're subscribed.
As always, your feedback is welcomed and...
Did you tell someone else about Aardvark today? If not then do it