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Saturday, November 21, 2020

VIDEO: International Space Station will make a 5 minute pass over Charlestown tonight

Sky over Charlestown busy this week
By Will Collette

See this directly on YouTube at

At a time when pleasant distractions are welcome, the International Space Station (ISS) and the major planets come to the rescue. 

ISS overflights tend to come in bunches - several in the same week. In fact, we will get an overflight over Charlestown every night through the end of the November and into December. Tonight, we get a 4 minute run; tomorrow, it will be a 5-minute run, the maximum length.

You can check the schedule yourself by CLICKING HERE.

The National Weather Service forecast (click here) for tonight is mostly cloudy so you will need a break to see the ISS.

Last night, I wanted to see the Grand Triangle formed by the crescent Moon with Jupiter and Saturn nearby forming a bright triangle. I messed up and went out too late (10:30) - the planets both set at around 8:30 PM. I should have gone out there at 6 PM to hit the best time to watch especially since the sky was clear.

But as a quite acceptable alternative, there was Mars shining read and bright high in the western sky at 10:30 as well as a nice view of the Milky Way.

The planets' relative positions will change, but Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, all at near-peak brightness, will grace our skies for the next few days.

Now, back the the ISS, the notice I received from NASA reads: Time: Sat Nov 21 5:31 PM, Visible: 4 min, Max Height: 66°, Appears: 19° above SW, Disappears: 30° above ENE

The station can rival Mars or Jupiter  in brightness.

Combined with its eerie silent, swift passage, the ISS makes for great sky viewing.

Again, you can check out the timetable for station overflights by clicking here for each day's overflight of our area. 

You have the option to sign up for e-mail alerts that give you at least 12 hours' advance warning of overflights.