If you get up reeeaaallly early on Sunday, you may be able to see the last-ever nighttime launch of the space shuttle. According to Space.com, if the sky is clear, the 4:39am launch should be visible from most of the eastern US.
After the solid rocket boosters are jettisoned, Endeavour will be visible for most locations by virtue of the light emanating from its three main engines. It should appear as a very bright, pulsating, fast-moving star, shining with a yellowish-orange glow. Based on previous night missions, the brightness should be at least equal to magnitude -2; rivaling Sirius, the brightest star in brilliance. Observers who train binoculars on the shuttle should be able to see its tiny V-shaped contrail.
If you miss it Sunday morning, you’ll still have a chance to see both the shuttle and the International Space Station as they orbit the earth; during this 13-day mission, they’ll be visible before dawn across North America and Europe.
You’ll want to get up early on Sunday, anyway, if you’re looking to buy tickets to see James Taylor and Carole King at Tanglewood this summer. The shed has already sold out, before the shows have even gone on sale to the general public. If you want to score lawn tickets, you’d better by trying at 8am this Sunday, February 7.
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