Woodvines upcoming performances

Sunday March 15th in duo with Stefan Van den Bossche 7:30 - 9:30 Waters edge restaurant BougainvilleaHotel

March 28th and 29th Harrison College Mosaic II at the Frank Collymore hall

Friday, 30 May 2014

Twinkle twinkle little spacestation

Much has been written about how so called smart devices such as iPhones and iPads have interfered with our social and family interactions.
On occasion I myself have been guilty of allowing my mind to wander away from a conversation in order to check something on my latest smart addiction.

In contrast to this, once in a while we get it right, and the worlds of the internet and smart phone create a magical tool for building unique life experiences that can be shared.

I've always been curious about space and technology, but recently my interest was piqued after downloading the NASA app for iPhone, which in turn led me to download an app for locating the International Space Station in real time. 
The ISS coming over a backyard near you!
The app, called ISS spotter not only shows the position of the ISS but it will also let you know in advance when you will be able to see it over your earthly location and from what direction it will appear.

Catching a glimpse of the ISS is not as straightforward as it sounds. During the day, the reflection of sunlight from the station is not bright enough for us to see down here in daylight and in the middle of the night there is no sunlight reflecting from the station back down to earth. To be seen from the earth's surface, the ISS has to pass overhead at dawn or dusk when the suns rays still catch the station and the earth below is in shadow.

A few weeks ago the ISS spotter App predicted that the station would be passing over Barbados in the early evening. My youngest son and I shared a magical moment on our back patio, tracking the ISS on my iPhone as it passed over Canada then the United states and finally made it's way over to our corner of the world. As it's orbit brought it closer, we looked up in the direction the app indicated and there, passing over us, was the most amazing man made achievement silently sweeping through our tropical sky.

The somewhat geeky fun didn't end there. On April 30th NASA made the video feeds from four cameras attached to the outside of the ISS available to any earthling with an internet connection. The link to the website and video feed is here.
I hooked up my computer and TV via an HDMI cable while my family gathered around to see our beautiful planet filmed from space in real time.
Using the ISS spotter we were able to see its position and figure out what part of the world we were looking at. The icing on the cake came when the ISS passed over the Caribbean and in the comfort of our living room we caught a glimpse of our beautiful island home from the edge of space.