Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Spot The Space Station

On a clear night, just after sunset, go outside and look up in the sky.  Chances are that if you look carefully, you will see a few "stars" that are moving through the sky.  These are often satellites that are circling the Earth.  At sunset and sunrise when it gets dark down here on the ground, for a little while, the satellites are still up in the sunlight and what you are seeing is the sunlight reflecting off of them.  Try it!

One of the most fun satellites to search for is the International Space Station(ISS).  NASA has just posted a cool service that can send you an alert whenever the Space Station is flying overhead at your location.  It circles the Earth every 90 minutes or so, but the alert system will only tell you when the conditions are right for a good sighting, which will vary from a couple times a week to once a month. You can sign up at their Spot The Station web site.  If you do, it will send you an alert by text message or email when the Space Station is visible.  You can also use this applet anytime to find the location of the ISS.

Spot The Station