Monday, December 7, 2009

Florida sky watchers have chances to spot Space Station

In Florida Sky watchers have two chances to spot the International Space Station fly high overhead in the next week.
On Sunday and Tuesday, the space station should be distinctly visible (weather permitting) to observers in central Florida, but you'll have to get up before sunrise to spot it in the predawn sky.

From Orlando, florida, on Sunday, the space station should appear as a fast-moving bright object moving across the dark sky, but only if the weather is clear. The pass starts at 06:33 A.M. EST in the southwest, with the station flying overhead to disappear on the northeast horizon. The entire pass should take about 5 minutes.

On Tuesday, Dec. 8, space station hunters will have to start their search even earlier to catch the bright orbiting lab fly overhead at 05:46 A.M. EST. The 3 minute pass will begin in the west-southwest, with the station flying toward the northeast.
The International Space Station flies 225 miles ie (354 km) above Earth and is the largest manmade object in space. It has 4 pairs of giant solar wings that branch out from a backbone-like main truss as long as a football field.
With pristine weather conditions, the space station can attain a magnitude -5 in brightness, which is 25 times brighter than the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius. At its best, the station also rivals the planet Venus in its brightness.

The station is currently home to a skeleton crew of two: Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev and American astronaut Jeff Williams of NASA. The two space flyers are awaiting the arrival of three new crewmembers - one each from Japan , Russia and the U.S. - later this month.


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