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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Space State makes a 6-minute Charlestown overflight at 8:52 PM

Another shot to see the ISS
By Will Collette

space science tech GIF by European Space Agency - ESAThe International Space Station (ISS), one of the few remaining examples of international cooperation and joint scientific exploration is a frequent visitor to Charlestown’s night-time sky.

Its passage overhead is smooth, quiet and, in its way, majestic. Comforting in a way to see that by working together, we can do good things.

Anyway, you can form your own impressions. From time to time, the ISS overflights come in clusters, allowing you several chances to see it on consecutive days. We had one last night which I didn't post because of the weather forecast.

After sunset at 4:59 PM, the ISS will appear for a 6-minute pass  at 10 degrees about the northwest horizon. It will arc up to 71 degrees above us as it heads east northeast where it will disappear at 12 degrees above the horizon.

Celestial mechanics makes the ISS strictly follow these specifications.

The National Weather Service says tonight’s weather will be  mostly clear.

Six minutes is the maximum time for an overflight. The station relies on reflected light from sunset (or sunrise) to make it visible to us on the ground and six minutes is roughly how long it takes for the ISS to go from one end of the sky to the other.

Here's the message I received from NASA this morning, courtesy of their "Spot The Station" e-mail listserve:

Time: Tue Dec 08 4:59 PM, Visible: 6 min, Max Height: 71°, Appears: 10° above NW, Disappears: 12° above ESE