A spaceship over your home!

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Well not exactly, but it was the International Space Station that ‘flew’ over our heads on Wednesday night. Excited sky watchers got a glimpse of what looked like “a bright light followed by a dim light, at high speed across the sky” as one kid put it.

Those who missed this don’t have to be disappointed. The ISS sightings happen once in a while, though those that last 6 minutes as yesterdays is quite rare. Signing up in NASA’s site would get you alerts to when and where to look out for.

This does not mean that the ISS passes over only rarely, what is rare is for it to pass by at a time when its dark here and hence the sunlight reflected by the station makes it visible to us earthlings.. A look at the information for Bangalore that goes like this:

ISS Sightings

Degrees and angles ??? at 250 miles above the sky? Now that brings us to the math connection This image would explain better.


The angle helps identify the location, with respect to the horizon. Astronomy, the fascinating science of celestial bodies(do not confuse with Astrology, though that deals with starts too!) depends a lot on Math. Math helps to locate and refer to position of stars and planets, measure distances and predict sightings or events. Yes, that’s just another field good old Math is helping us with, without us even knowing it.

Try finding out more on Astronomy, it’s sure to get you hooked to the stars!

Incidentally, did you know that ancient India was well advanced in Astronomy? The great mathematician Aryabhata calculatedthe sidereal rotation (the rotation of the earth referencing the fixed stars) as 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.1 seconds;the modern value (with all the supercomputer power) is 23:56:4.091. Nothing short of awesome, isn’t it!

Read about Chess and Math on beGalileo Blog and know about Math tutoring on beGalileo – Math learning program.

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