Skywatchers spot ‘lost’ space tool kit
Spacewalker’s bag is visible through binoculars, if you know where to look
Amateur astronomers have been monitoring a shiny tool bag that has been orbiting Earth ever since it was dropped last week by an astronaut during a spacewalk outside the international space station.
The bag is reportedly about magnitude 6.4, which under most sky conditions is too faint to see with the naked eye.
Veteran spacewalker and Endeavour astronaut Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper lost her grip on the backpack-sized bag on Nov. 18 while cleaning up a mess from a leaking grease gun she was carrying. The grease was being used to help mop up metal grit from inside a massive gear that turns the space station's starboard solar wings.
After sunset on Saturday, Edward Light, using 10 x 50 binoculars, spotted the bag in space while he scanned the sky from his backyard in Lakewood, N.J., SpaceWeather.com reported. On the same night, Keven Fetter of Brockville, Ontario, video-recorded the bag as it passed by the star Eta Pisces in the constellation Pisces.