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Saturday, July 21, 2018

If the sky stays clear, we may be able to see space station overflight at 9:29 PM

ISS will make 6-minute long journey across C-Town sky tonight at 9:29 PM
By Will Collette

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It's a long shot, but if the showers stay away until later in the evening, we may get to see the International Space Station pass overhead for a full six minutes.

However, the National Weather Service forecast calls for showers tonight leading up to potentially fierce thunderstorms at around 2-3 AM.

Timing is everything.

If the storm doesn't roll in until later, 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 9:29 PM sharp in the west-southwest at 10 degrees over the horizon.

It will rise to 72 degrees and will track to the northeast for six minutes where it will disappear six minutes later at 10 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: Sat Jul 21 9:29 PM, Visible: 6 min, Max Height: 72°, Appears: 10° above WSW, Disappears: 10° above NE 

Catch the official National Weather Service forecast for Charlestown HERE.