“Stardust,” NASA’s comet dust-collecting satellite, will return to Earth Jan. 15. Its flight path will take it over northern CA and NV, but should be visible almost as far south as Las Vegas and as far north as Portland (though it will be pretty low in the sky at the northern and southern extremes). This page has a map that shows what elevation it will appear at from various locations:
HYPERSEED: Hypervelocity reentries and deposition of organics in large meteors
Scientists estimate that the fireball will be 60 times brighter than Venus. That’s a sight worth waking up for.
More info on Stardust.
UPDATE 1/13: The NYT reports that Stardust has traveled 3 billion miles at a cost of about $200 million. That’s about 7 cents per mile — or a little bit less than what my Mazda MPV costs to drive (11 cents per mile, with gas at $2.35 per gallon). Clearly, I need some NASA rocket technology in my car!
So… that is 01:56:39 Sunday January 15, 2006 on Pacific time. Ug.
Weird synchronicity: just read about how Las Vegas’s Stardust Hotel is being slated for demolition. Anyway, carry on…
Great coincidence — thanks for the tip, quanta. One Stardust returns, another goes away.