International Space Station Visible Over Newcastle & the Hunter Region

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For the next week, the International Space Station should be visible in the evening over the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Hunter region if the weather remains clear and cloudless. This is a great opportunity for families who are interested in space 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 the human body in space. The space station has been continuously inhabited by humans for 20 years, supporting many scientific breakthroughs. 

At the moment, the International Space Centre is home to Expedition 65 Crew which includes Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur and Mark T. Vande Hei from NASA and Pyotr Dubrov and Oleg Novitskiy of Roscomos from Russia, Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency and Akihiko Hoshide from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Astronauts usually stay for approximately six months on the ISS.

ISS65Crew

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.

The following ISS sightings are possible through to 20 May 2021.

Newcastle

Lake Macquarie

Maitland / Cessnock / Kurri Kurri

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 International Space Station is seen in this 30 second exposure as it flies over Elkton, VA early in the morning, Saturday, August 1, 2015. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The International Space Station is seen in this 30 second exposure as it flies over Elkton, VA early in the morning, Saturday, August 1, 2015. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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 during this period, you can sign up for reminders as to when it will be back again.

National Simultaneous Storytime 2021

For a special treat this year, National Simultaneous Storytime will be broadcast from the ISS. This year National Simultaneous Storytime takes place on Wednesday 19 May at 11am (AEST) from the International Space Station and will feature the book Give Me Some Space! written by Philip Bunting and published by Scholastic Australia.

This year the book will be read by an astronaut from the International Space Station. ALIA, along with the Australian Space Agency and The Office of the Chief Scientist, and with help from Science Time From Space, will bring an additional science and educational component to National Simultaneous Storytime in 2021. Astronauts will do a science demonstration on the International Space Station emulating the heat balances between the sun/Earth/space. Please note, the experiment videos and instructions on how to participate in the citizen science will only be shared with registered participants.

Families and educators keen to join in the fun and participate in reaching #1millionkidsreading can register at alia.org.au/nss for FREE and have access to a variety of electronic downloads to support their NSS event. Get together with your mums’ or dads’ group and join in on a NSS event at a local library, watch it together or do it virtually via Zoom!


Want more ideas for family fun? Check out 50 Free & Low-Cost Things To Do With Kids Around Newcastle.

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