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Sunday, May 14, 2023

Int'l Space Station will make a maximum length pass over Charlestown tonight

Horizon to horizon in seven minutes

By Will Collette

Though the International Space Station (ISS) passes over us often, I only post those overflights that are the most interesting to see and with good enough weather so you have a chance to see it.

Such is tonight's when the ISS will be visible for the maximum amount of time - 7 minutes - though visibility is iffy.

Tonight, the ISS will appear at only 10 degrees over the west-southwestern horizon at 9:25 PM, will climb to 53 degrees above us and then continue its silent and serene passage east southeast where it will disappear at 10 degrees over the northeastern horizon.

The weather is the wild card. 

The National Weather Service forecast says tonight will be "Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming clear, with a low around 45. North wind 3 to 7 mph." If this wasn't a seven-minute event, I might have skipped it based on the "mostly cloudy" forecast, However, that's where timing comes into play. 

This afternoon will be mostly sunny (crystal clear as I write this). ISS flyovers always happen right after sunset and just before dawn. I am hoping that the transition from clear to cloudy will happen after the overflight. But of course, I could be wrong.

Probably the best place to get a panoramic view of the ISS in Charlestown is from the old runway in Ninigret Park near the Frosty Drew Observatory. Again, mind the cold.

You can sign up to get on NASA's list to get day-of notices such as this one I received this morning:

Time: Sun May 14 9:25 PM, Visible: 7 min, Max Height: 53°, Appears: 10° above WSW, Disappears: 10° above NE