UK stargazers should keep their eyes peeled for any unusual lights crossing the skies this week. The ISS is expected to create a few sighting opportunities in the next four days, appearing in the wee morning hours just before sunrise. As the space station races around our planet, it completes a lap around Earth every 90 minutes.
During each pass, the ISS spends roughly 45 minutes in daylight and 45 minutes in darkness.
And if the conditions are right, the orbital laboratory can be seen from your location.
However, this is dependant on the space station’s orbit that day.
The US space agency NASA said: “It can only be seen when it is dawn or dusk at your location.
“As such, it can range from one sighting opportunity a month to several a week, since it has to be both dark where you are, and the space station has to happen to be going overhead.”
When will the ISS be visible this week?
According to NASA, the orbital laboratory will be visible four times this week, when viewed from London.
But keep in mind visibility will depend on other factors such as weather and light pollution.
NASA also estimates flyovers of about 40 degrees provide the best sighting opportunity, so the following dates might not be optimal.
NASA said: “It needs to be dark where you are and the space station needs to be overhead in order for you to see it.
“Since the space station’s orbit takes it all around the globe, it can be passing over you at times when it will not be visible- either in the middle of the day or the middle of the night.”
It can range from one sighting opportunity a month to several a week
Sightings this week from London:
Thursday, August 27 – 5.12am – Max height: 17 degrees.
Friday, August 28 – 4.26am – Max height: 12 degrees.
Saturday, August 29 – 5.12am – Max height: 34 degrees.
Sunday, August 30 – 4.27am – Max height: 24 degrees.
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Sightings this week from Glasgow:
Saturday, August 29 – 5.14am – Max height: 15 degrees
Sunday, August 30 – 4.28am – Max height: 11 degrees.
Sightings this week from Manchester:
Thursday, August 27 – 5.13am – Max height: 12 degrees
Saturday, August 29 – 5.13am – Max height: 15 degrees
Sunday, August 30 – 4.27am – Max height: 17 degrees
You can find out more about viewing times for your exact location using NASA’s official Spot The Station Website.
You can even sign up for alerts to notify you every time an optimal sighting opportunity will present itself.
NASA said: “The space station must be 40 degrees or more above the horizon for it to be visible.
“Spot The Station will only send out notifications when you will have an opportunity to see the space station, not every time it will be overhead.”
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