14 May 2009

Pitcairners help out Space Station scientists

1:53 pm on 14 May 2009

Early tomorrow morning several people on Pitcairn Island will begin photographing a unique space event that will be visible to the unaided eye only from Pitcairn and Easter islands.

Following a request from NASA, the Pitcairners will photograph a man-made, fish-hook-shaped cloud in the eastern sky created by the venting of a large amount of ammonia into space from the International Space Station.

NASA says the photographic study of the cloud may allow scientists to study the properties of the ammonia ice in space, and its interaction with the atmosphere.

NASA says the whole scene will be somewhat larger than the moon, and will move quickly across the sky.

The Space Station will be clearly visible during this transit because at that time Pitcairn will still be in darkness.