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Space Station Sighting Opportunities

By: Myles Henderson Email
By: Myles Henderson Email

July 6, 2009

If you've never seen a space station with your own eyes, now's your chance.

The International Space Station is making a series of flybys over the United States this week and because we are in summer the orientation of the Earth is giving us several chances to see it.

Ed Murphy, UVa astronomy professor says, "As the International Space Station goes around the Earth it's spending more time in sunlight when the orbit is oriented the way it is this week. Which means that every night this week we will get a very good pass of the International Space Station over central Virginia."

For Charlottesville residents, the ISS will appear multiple times a day from Monday, July 6th to Saturday, July 11th.

Here is a list of the sighting opportunities:
- Mon Jul 06 @ 9:09 PM, 10:43 PM
- Tue Jul 07 @ 3:33 AM, 5:07 AM, 9:32 PM, 11:08 PM
- Wed Jul 08 @ 3:56 AM, 9:57 PM
- Thu Jul 09 @ 02:47 AM, 09 @ 4:21 AM, 10:25 PM
- Fri Jul 10 @ 3:10 AM, 4:49 AM, 9:11 PM
- Sat Jul 11 @ 9:39 PM

The Space Station is traveling over 17,000mph and is about the size of a football field, but should still be visible to the naked eye.

"It will look like a very bright start moving slowly from one horizon to the other horizon," said Murphy.

Another interesting thing to be on the lookout for is a resupply vehicle that was on the International Space Station. Right now that's trailing one to two minutes behind the space station. So after you see the ISS go overhead, you should look for that resupply vehicle following the exact same path through the sky.

For full details on sighting coordinates and duration, visit the Charlottesville Satellite Sightings Information Page.

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