Is it possible that my brother and I simultaneously witnessed a potentially deadly close approach of the International Space Station from the ground? It’s not clear, but it has been interesting putting together the evidence.
I live north-northwest of Seattle, WA. in Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island (in the US). On Sunday the 28th of August, I saw an ISS pass from my house that started at 21:02 Local (Aug 29 2013 4:02 UTC). Prior to the beginning of the pass, I had called my brother who lives down in Seattle (about 65 miles as the crow flies). He hadn’t seen an ISS pass before, and this one looked to be pretty bright (-3.5 mag, according to the Heavens Above website). He called me on his cell phone during the pass, and we talked as we watched it. Near the end of the pass, I saw another satellite come from the north, and appear to run right through the ISS. My brother noted the same thing to me on the phone, wondering out loud if “someone is trying to shoot it down”. He was joking, but that is what it looked like from our different vantage points.