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Sunday, March 22, 2020

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

Part of a series of overflights this week
By Will Collette

See this directly on YouTube at

International Space Station overflights tend to come in bunches - several in the same week. We had one earlier this week and we have another one, this one at five minutes duration, coming up tonight.

Anyway, the ISS is making an evening pass over Charlestown. This overflight is three minutes long and the viewing could be OK. Generally, the maximum time the ISS is visible overhead is six minutes.

The National Weather Service forecast (click here) for tonight is increasing clouds as a storm rolls in.

It starts in the south southwest at exactly 7:26 PM, 28 degrees over the horizon in the west south west. It will climb to 74% over the horizon (almost overhead) and head toward the northeast. Then it will seem to disappear as it passes beyond the point where it is lit up by the sun at 12 degrees elevation.

About 90 minutes later (the time it takes the ISS to make one orbit), at 9:04 PM, it will return for a brief and low 2-minute overflight. That one will be hard to catch given how fast and low it is going plus the likelihood of more clouds.

The station can rival Venus or Jupiter (both of which are prominent in the sky this month) or Mars in brightness.

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

Here are tonight's exact specifications from NASA: 
Time: Sun Mar 22 7:26 PM, Visible: 5 min, Max Height: 74°, Appears: 28° above WSW, Disappears: 12° above NE. 

You can check out the timetable for station overflights by clicking here. There you will see that the ISS will return tomorrow night for a 4-minute overflight followed by a very quick second overflight.

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