With NASA celebrating no less than twelve years of the International Space Station being continuously crewed, a new web-based service has been unveiled to help earthbound humans spot its whereabouts in the night sky.
Called “Spot the Station“, the web app makes it easier for people to spot the orbiting laboratory when it’s silently shuffling by overhead.
Users who sign up for the service on the website will receive an email or text message a few hours before the station is due to pass over their bonces.
With the International Space Station’s trajectory passing over more than 90 percent of Earth’s population, most people should be able to get to see the thing arc through the night sky at some point or another.
In case you’ve never seen it pass over, it’s actually fairly easy to spot on a clear night, looking like a slowly moving star.
We think it’s a pretty awesome thing to see, truth be told.
I doubt if any of us will ever get to experience the incredible views from the space station, but here’s the ever-delightful Kate Bush to provide something of an insight:
Here’s the full PR text
Spot The Space Station Over Your Backyard With New NASA Service
WASHINGTON — On the 12th anniversary of crews continuously living and working aboard the International Space Station, NASA announced Friday a new service to help people see the orbiting laboratory when it passes overhead. “Spot the Station” will send an email or text message to those who sign up for the service a few hours before they will be able to see the space station.
“It’s really remarkable to see the space station fly overhead and to realize humans built an orbital complex that can be spotted from Earth by almost anyone looking up at just the right moment,” said William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations. “We’re accomplishing science on the space station that is helping to improve life on Earth and paving the way for future exploration of deep space.”
When the space station is visible — typically at dawn and dusk — it is the brightest object in the night sky, other than the moon. On a clear night, the station is visible as a fast moving point of light, similar in size and brightness to the planet Venus. “Spot the Station” users will have the options to receive alerts about morning, evening or both types of sightings.
The International Space Station’s trajectory passes over more than 90 percent of Earth’s population. The service is designed to only notify users of passes that are high enough in the sky to be easily visible over trees, buildings and other objects on the horizon. NASA’s Johnson Space Center calculates the sighting information several times a week for more than 4,600 locations worldwide, all of which are available on “Spot the Station.”
Nov. 2 marks 12 years of continuous human habitation of the space station.
To sign up for “Spot the Station,” visit: http://spotthestation.nasa.gov