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Posted at 02:40 PM ET, 10/11/2012

International Space Station to zip across Washington, D.C.’s skies tonight


Tonight’s International Space Station Pass (Heavens-Above.com)
Between 7:35 and 7:40 p.m. tonight, be sure to look up. The International Space Station (ISS), flying at altitude of about 220 miles up, will cruise through the clear autumn sky and make a pretty close pass to our nation’s capital.

Here’s a detailed timeline, which explains where the ISS will be at different times during the five minute viewing window and where to look:

* The ISS will first be visible in the southwest sky as it flies over Panama City, Florida between 7:35 and 7:36 p.m. It will be heading northeast through Georgia and then the central Carolinas.

* It will be highest in the sky between 7:38 and 7:39 p.m. as you look southeast and then east. During this interval, it will pass almost directly overhead Williamsburg, Va. and Salisbury, Md.

* It will continue northeast- arriving near Cape May, NJ at 7:39 p.m., while getting lower in the sky. It will exit our view as it approaches Cape Cod around 7:40 p.m.


The International Space Station (AP)
The above timeline should tell you the ISS is really trucking. How fast? At a speed of about 5 miles per second (or 18,000 miles per hour)!

The Fayetteville Observer says if you view the ISS through a telescope you might be able to see some of its finer structure, that is, if you can keep up with it at that speed.

WJLA’s Bob Ryan notes this is a particularly prime time of year to check out the ISS since it remains illuminated by the sun (even after the sun has set on Earth): “its solar panels covering an area greater than a football field will be very bright, reflecting the light of the sun,” Ryan writes.

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reports, astronauts attached a cargo ship to the ISS, called the Dragon, launched into space by the California-based SpaceX company in early October.

“This newest Dragon holds 1,000 pounds of groceries, clothes, science experiments and other gear,” the AP said.

Writes the Economist: “it included a delivery of ice cream, a rare treat for the astronauts exiled there; and it is the first cargo flight to the station undertaken by a commercial company.”

By  |  02:40 PM ET, 10/11/2012

Categories:  Latest, Space, Astronomy

 
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