Ever wish you had the ability to watch as the International Space Station (ISS) arcs by overhead? NASA wants you to be able to do this as well, as such, the space agency has started a service, dubbed “Spot the Station” – where space buffs can receive a text message or email that will let them know when the orbiting laboratory will be making a pass overhead.
This new feature’s unveiling coincides with the 12th anniversary of the space station’s twelfth year of permanent occupation by crews.
Guests who sign up for this service will be notified a few hours before the station is slated to pass by over their location.
“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 in a press release issued by the space agency, 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.”
The station is usually visible either at sunset or sunrise. On a clear night, the ISS is the brightest object in the sky (excluding the Moon). Like a shooting star, the station zips across the sky and is a somewhat hard target to spot. “Spot the Station” will help to guarantee success. NASA will provide guests with notifications about morning and evening sighting opportunities.
Think you are in the wrong neck of the woods to see the ISS? Think again. The International Space Station, as it orbits 260 miles overhead, is visible by more than 90 percent of the Earth’s population.
“Spot the Station” is managed by NASA’s Johnson Space Center, located in Houston, Texas. The team calculates the sighting information several times a week – for more than 4,600 locations worldwide. The ISS will mark its twelfth year of continuous human habitation.