5:52am Saturday: Space Shuttle reentry (may be) visible from SF Bay area

Looking Up Department
SF Chronicle: Space shuttle may provide a sky show -- But overhead clouds could spoil local viewing
Although the forecast isn't great, a break in the clouds should reveal the shuttle's blazing re-entry into the earth's atmosphere more than 40 miles high and speeding at 15,500 mph.

According to the latest NASA calculations, the shuttle should first appear like a bright meteor at 5:52 a.m., visible almost due north to observers from Clearlake to San Jose. In less than a minute, as it flies toward the northeast, it will vanish, and 23 minutes later it will land at Cape Canaveral, 2,500 miles away.

Three to five minutes after the shuttle passes, observers on the ground may hear or even feel a faint sonic boom as it flies faster than the speed of sound.

I've seen this reentry before from Austin -- I had thought only more southern locales were in the path -- and it's spectacular. Some photos of a reentry over Houston are on the web, but they don't really do it justice.

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