If you see what looks like a very bright star moving across the sky over Newcastle, it could be the International Space Station.
For the next week, the International Space Station should be visible in the night sky over Newcastle if the weather remains clear and cloudless. This is a wonderful opportunity for kids interested in space (like my own child) to spot the station.
Orbiting at 350 kilometres above the earth, the International Space Station station is an active scientific laboratory orbiting the earth and is currently conducting research into space physics and human body in space.
At the moment, the International Space Centre is home to Drew Feustel, Ricky Arnold and Serena Aunon-Chancellor from NASA, Alexander Gerst from European Space Agency and Sergey Prokopyey and Oleg Artemye of Roscomos. Astronauts usually stay for approximately six months on the ISS.
Here’s some information about when you will be able to locate the International Space Station in the morning and night sky for the next fortnight.
On the NASA website, there is an online tool which indicates when and where the ISS will be visible. It even gives you directions on how to spot it in the night sky.
According to NASA, the station “looks like an airplane or a very bright star moving across the sky, except it doesn’t have flashing lights or change direction. It will also be moving considerably faster than a typical airplane (airplanes generally fly at about 600 miles per hour; the space station flies at 17,500 miles per hour)”.
The Space Station is typically visible around sunrise or sunset, because the sun reflects off the space centre and can be seen against a darker sky. Sightings are limited to only a few minutes.
If you miss the ISS this week, you can sign up for reminders as to when it will be back again.