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VOA慢速英语:周六晚上人们抬头就可以看到国际空间站

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International Space Station Puts on a Saturday Night Show

Hello and welcome! I’m Jim Tedder in Washington with the program that helps you learn and improve your American English. Today we have something special for you. We will meet with some friends not far from the VOA studios and …all together …look up at the night sky in search of a wonderful machine, far above us.

Listen carefully. There is some important information near the end that you can use. You are listening to VOA.

Americans often watch television or go to movies or parties on weekends. But on a recent Saturday night, a few people met for an unusual activity at a public park in Bethesda, Maryland. A neighbor had invited them to watch the International Space Station pass overhead.

The park had few lights to compete with stars and other objects in the sky. That helped make it possible to find the International Space Station just by looking up. No special equipment was needed.

At the time, the space station was carrying six crew members. Theyrepresented the space programs in Russia, Japan and the United States. Three of the men returned safely to Earth not long after the sighting inMaryland.

Oleg Kotov commanded the return trip to Kazakhstan. He is a pilot, an officerin the Russian Air Force and a medical doctor who was born in Crimea. Withhim were Russian cosmonaut Sergei Ryazanskiy and American astronautMike Hopkins.

Three other men stayed on the ISS. Three others joined them after leavingthe Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 25th.

Back in Maryland, the space station watchers gathered among children’sswings and toy cars. They sought to identify the stars and planets in the clearnight sky. One woman repeatedly looked at her wristwatch.

“Hey, there it is,” called a man. He pointed at yellow, red and blue lights sailingthrough the night. But no, that was an airplane.

国际空间站

The International Space Station can sometimes be seen from Earth without a telescope.

“Isn’t that it,” cried another watcher? She caught sight of a lighted object as itmoved through the skies. No, that also was a plane. The woman worried thatperhaps they had missed the sighting.

Luckily, help was available. Retired television engineer Paul Monte-Boviserved as a kind of guide and host for the Saturday night event. He hasbelonged for many years to one of America’s largest amateur astronomyclubs.

Mr. Monte-Bovi owns three telescopes. He noted that the space station mightlook as if it were on the same level with airplanes. But he said it is really morethan 300 kilometers up in the sky. And its light looks bright white. The ISSdoes not show up as the yellowish color of the stars and other objects in thesky.

“It does look like an airplane, the difference being that the space station doesnot have flashing lights.”

The Maryland sky watchers found the ISS by looking to the northwest andwatching it move southeast. NASA, the American space agency, says that it not usually the case. But the space station’s trajectories, the curved paths,differ.

As promised, the station appeared at the predicted time. That night, it wasfirst observed at 7:44 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, and seen for about fourminutes.

“It is way high, and it’s traveling in a continuous move.”

Paul Monte-Bovi said what the people were seeing was the reflection of thesunlight on the station’s solar panels. This equipment produce the manykilowatts of power required to keep the space station operating. And it seemsthat bright dot in the sky is huge. The panels alone cover four tenths of onehectare.

One of the sky watchers asked the others to predict what the crew memberswere doing overhead. That question remained unanswered. But people couldfind out what the space station would do in the coming week.

For example, on the following Tuesday and Thursday, the station deployedmicro-satellites known as NanoRacksCubeSats. These devices aresupposed to increase scientific observation of the Earth. Another goal for theISS is to learn the effects of space on human bodies. Crew members testedthose effects on their mental abilities and organs including the heart andbones.

Another experiment is meant to increase our understanding of proteinstructure and how proteins operate. Improved understanding of proteinsmight someday provide treatment for several currently incurable conditions.

It was a comet, not a space station, that got Paul Monte-Bovi interested inamateur astronomy in 1997. The comet Hale-Bopp had been discovered justtwo years earlier. Some people say it was the brightest comet in history. Heremembered the event.

“I heard about comets but never thought I would be able to see one. And aneighbor came by and said ‘Let’s go see the comet. I hear it’s out tonight.’ And I had a breathtaking view. “

That experience led him to join the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club. Recently, another club member told him that NASA provides information aboutthe times and places when people can see the ISS.

Mr. Monte-Bovi is among about 85,000 people who have asked for thatinformation. Now he asks neighbors to join him for sightings when he thinksthe ISS would be easiest to see.

“We have neighbors who have some young children who are real spacecadets ((fans)). They love anything to do with the night sky…. I thought itwould be fun to have the rest of the neighborhood become aware of it…”

NASA’s Mission Control provides the details about where it is possible to seethe International Space Station in 4,600 places around the world. You can askto receive an e-mail telling when you can expect to see the ISS near home. Ifyour community is not on the list, choose a place that is close. For moreinformation, go to spotthestation.nasa.gov.

When we are not looking up at the night sky, we Americans often spend ourfree time by reading books. According to the New York Times newspaper, themost popular fiction book in the United States is “Missing You.” It was writtenby Harlan Coben. It is the story of Kat Donovan, a New York police detectivewho searches for the lover who left her years before.

The number one non-fiction book is “Twelve Years a Slave, by SolomonNorthup. The story was first published in 1853. It tells of a freeman who waskidnapped and sold into slavery, and spent 12 years in bondage beforeescaping. The book was made into an award-winning movie.

Well, it’s time for us to move aside so you can hear some more LearningEnglish programs. And if you want to find out more about what is happeningin our world, there is a complete news broadcast at the beginning of the hour. Let’s get together again tomorrow, right here on VOA. I’m Jim Tedder inWashington.


内容来自 VOA英语学习网https://www.chinavoa.com/show-8246-230182-1.html
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