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Thursday, December 14, 2017

As sky clears, we may be able to see space station overflight at 5:25 PM

ISS will make 6-minute long journey across C-Town sky tonight at 5:25 PM
By Will Collette

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Though the skies are still gray and thick with clouds from last night's snowfall, the forecast says those clouds are going to clear.

The National Weather Service forecast says that our gray skies will give way to a mostly clear and chilly night.

If that happens early enough, the International Space Station (ISS) will treat us to a six-minute fly-over. That's about the maximum time given the ISS's speed and its ability to reflect sunshine from the sun that set shortly before.

The space station appears as if out of no where at 5:25 PM sharp in the northwest at 10 degrees over the horizon. It will rise to 63 degrees and will track to the east southeast for six minutes where it will disappear six minutes later at 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: Thu Dec 14 5:25 PM, Visible: 6 min, Max Height: 63°, Appears: 10° above NW, Disappears: 16° above ESE

Catch the official National Weather Service forecast for Charlestown HERE.