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Space station will be visible over SCV

NASA officials recommend ‘the boonies’ as best viewing spot

Posted: July 7, 2009 9:16 p.m.
Updated: July 8, 2009 4:30 a.m.

NASA predicts the space station will be visible over Santa Clarita at 4:01 a.m. and 10:03 p.m. today, and 4:24 a.m. and 8:49 p.m. Thursday.

 

If you happen to be awake and outside at 4 a.m. today or Thursday, that’s not a brighter-than-average star you might notice streaking across the sky.

The International Space Station will be visible to the naked eye in the early morning and late evening hours, for an unusually long period of five minutes.

“It really depends on the orbit and how it lines up with the sun,” said Kylie Clem, a NASA spokeswoman at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

NASA predicts the space station will be visible over Santa Clarita at 4:01 a.m. and 10:03 p.m. today, and 4:24 a.m. and 8:49 p.m. Thursday.

“It was extremely clearly visible (Tuesday morning), like a bright star but moving,” said Alan Brown at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in Mojave.

He said it looks like an extremely bright star, but without the twinkle, as it reflects the light of the sun.

Brown said it helps to be in a fairly dark area — “Get out in the boonies,” he quipped — to view the space station.

Clem said it may help to use binoculars to get a closer look.

The station circles Earth every 90 minutes, according to information provided by NASA. It is 357 feet long — about the length of a football field — and 45 feet tall.

Its reflective solar arrays are 240 feet wide and have a total surface area of more than 38,000 square-feet.

A crew of six astronauts, including American flight engineer Michael Barratt, is aboard the complex conducting research. Other crew members are from Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan.

To find out when the space station is visible, visit www.jsc.nasa.gov/sightings.
 

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