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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Space Station returns to C-Town sky at 4:44 PM

Forecast calls for "chance of snow" after 2 AM
By Will Collette

Image result for international space station

Sky watching in the fall, especially on nights where the sky is clear, is pretty wonderful. Tonight, we MAY get a four minute show as the International Space Station makes its third evening pass over Charlestown in the past seven days.

The National Weather Service forecast says that our daytime clear skies will give way to a chance of snow which may start at 2 AM. Since the overflight is early (4:55 PM), we have a shot.

The space station appears as if out of no where at 4:55 PM sharp in the west southwest at 45 degrees over the horizon. It will rise to 83 degrees which is almost directly overhead. It will track to the northeast for four minutes where it will disappear at around five o'clock 11 degrees above the horizon as it loses the sun's reflected light.

It is about as bright as a passing jetliner as it makes a quick and silent arc up to its maximum elevation. 

While this is not like watching a firework's display, it is impressive in its own right as we watch mankind's only current manned venture into space.

You can sign up with NASA's "Spot the Station" listserve and get a warning e-mail before such overflights. Click here to sign up for the alerts.

Here's the exact wording of today's alert: Time: Sun Dec 04 4:55 PM, Visible: 4 min, Max Height: 83°, Appears: 45° above WSW, Disappears: 11° above NE

Catch the official National Weather Service forecast for Charlestown HERE.