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Toolbag dropped by astronauts on the ISS can now be seen from Earth using binoculars

Kit Roberts

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Toolbag dropped by astronauts on the ISS can now be seen from Earth using binoculars

Featured Image Credit: NASA/Twitter/@RikyUnreal

Everyone makes mistakes at work, but not many of us can say that one of our mistakes can be seen flying overhead in the night's sky.

But that's exactly what has happened for one astronaut onboard the International Space Station (ISS).

They may literally be in space, but they're not above making the odd gaff.

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It seems that even the most highly trained and intelligent among us still occasionally drop things, like the one astronaut who dropped a bag of tools while working on the ISS.

NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara suffered the unfortunate mishap on November 1, which was captured on a livestream:

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It's not like you're working under a car and can just go and get it either. Whoops.

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You might think that in space no one can hear you scream after dropping your tools.

But it turns out they don't even need to hear you, because they can just look up at the sky and see the tool bag orbiting the Earth.

You might think that such an object would be far too small to see, at least not without a high-powered telescope.

The space shuttle docking at the ISS. Credit: AFP/AFP via Getty Images
The space shuttle docking at the ISS. Credit: AFP/AFP via Getty Images
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But while you can't see the bag with the naked eye, you only need a fairly easily accessible household item to see the bag as it goes overhead.

That's right, with just a pair of decent binoculars you'll be able to see the tool bag orbiting the Earth.

But how can you do this?

Well, firstly you need to find the ISS as it orbits overhead. This can often be seen when it's a clear night if you know what you're looking for.

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About one minute before the ISS comes overhead, if you're lucky you'll be able to see the tool bag.

It's moving at around the same speed as the ISS and along the same trajectory, so the pair are very close.

The bag orbits around one minute ahead of the ISS. Credit: X / RockUnreal
The bag orbits around one minute ahead of the ISS. Credit: X / RockUnreal

However, due to it being quite small, it's fair to say that it's a bit more difficult to see than the ISS, and is currently slightly less bright than Uranus.

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It's also not kitted out with lights and lots of reflective surfaces, making it a great deal harder to spot.

The lack of lights also means that in order to see it, the ISS will have to be passing overhead during either dark or dusk.

But, with the right conditions and a bit of luck, it is entirely possible for you to see the tool bag with just an ordinary pair of binoculars.

Not bad considering that the ISS orbits the Earth some 248 miles above the Earth.

The bag will eventually descend to Earth and will likely disintegrate at around 70 miles above the Earth's surface.

Topics: Technology, News, US News, World News, Space, International Space Station

Kit Roberts
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