Saturday, November 18, 2023

Still Life with Robin: Spot the Station

I’ve just signed up for NASA’s “Spot the Station” alerts, so I will get a notification whenever it’s a good night to view the International Space Station flying through the night sky. It’s like a shooting star, but one made by humans, and it’s a lot closer to earth. Best of all, there are people on it! 

I’ve seen it a number of times in the past, but now I have a way to receive a text alert whenever it’s a good night for viewing. 

Tonight’s the night! Here’s the notice from “Spot the Station”: 

Time: Sat Nov 18 5:36 PM, Visible: 6 min, Max Height: 83°, Appears: 10° above SW, Disappears: 13° above NE 

And the forecast is for clear skies: 5:00 pm Clear 52° Cloud Cover 0% Wind NNW 11 mph Humidity 40% Rain Amount 0 in 

I’ll be out there looking up! 

I recommend getting the app on your smartphone. Open your App Store, search for “Spot the Station,” download for free, and sign up. 

You can also sign up on your computer – go to - but the location finder does not work very well for people who live in Cleveland Park. Let me explain: 

If you sign up on your computer, as I did, right after a friend emailed me about it (thanks, Sue, for the tip!), you will be prompted to enter your state and city. You select DC from the list of states (yes, DC is listed as a state, just as we deserve to be!) and then there’s another drop-down menu for all the towns in that state. For DC there are 100 “towns” listed. That’s a lot of towns, isn’t it? You would think one of them would be the town of Cleveland Park. But no, it’s not among the locations offered. 

Here are all the “towns” offered within a few miles of Cleveland Park (going as far north as Chevy Chase Circle and as far south as Dupont Circle). Note that some of them seem to be garbled versions of actual places: 

Archbold Parkway (Maybe they mean Glover-Archbold Park? That’s the only thing that comes up on Google Maps)

Battery Kemble Park

Beach Parkway (I’m guessing they mean Beach Drive)

Chevy Chase Circle

Curb Parking (Who knows how this got in there? An A.I. mistake?)

Dalecarlia Parkway

Dumbarton Oaks Park

Dupont Circle

Fort Bayard Park

Fort Reno Park

Francis G. Newlands Park (Google Maps puts the pin down at Chevy Chase Circle – but that’s already listed, see above. Francis G. Newlands WAS the name on the fountain, until, by general consensus that he was unworthy of the honor, the plaque was removed.)

Glover Parkway (Could this be another reference to Glover-Archbold Park?)

Klingle Valley Parkway

Melvin Hazin Park (It’s actually spelled “Hazen”)

National Zoo

Normanstone Parkway

Old Stone House

Pinehurst Parkway (Google Maps says they mean the Pinehurst Tributary of Rock Creek)

Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway

Rock Creek Park

Soapstone Valley

Tenley Circle

Ward Circle

Woodley Park


The odd part is, if you choose Maryland as your state, you get a drop-down menu of 60 towns and a few parks, from Annapolis to Westminster, all spelled correctly – and no oddities, like that “Curb Parking” option on the DC menu. 

The phone app, on the other hand, is free of this nonsense. You don’t have to choose your neighborhood; you simply let the app access your GPS and it puts down a pinpoint on your address. 

While you are looking up at the ISS, you can also see how we down here on earth look to the people up there. Go here: 

I hope the ISS crew gets a notification of how many people (like me!) are tracking them as they fly through space!

Peggy Robin

Curb Parking, District of Columbia 20008


Still Life with Robin is posted on the Cleveland ParkListserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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