What does the ISS look like from Earth?

UFO: 'Mysterious craft' spotted near earth by Space Station

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The decades-long collaborative project between Russia and the US has been overshadowed by war in Ukraine. But ISS personnel remain dedicated to their fieldwork, with cosmonauts and astronauts continuing their work hand in hand. As the space station remains locked in its orbit, there are several points when people can catch a glimpse of it.

What does the ISS look like from Earth?

The ISS resides 253 miles outside the Earth’s atmosphere, significantly closer to the planet than most satellites.

The station is a comparatively clear presence in the sky, especially for those with the right equipment.

While it is also visible to the naked eye, people will need to know what they are looking for, as it appears similar to most other extra-terrestrial objects.

Millions of people may have noticed it before, as the ISS looks like a bright star.

During a clear night, the station appears as a quick-moving bright light in the sky.

According to NASA, it is the third brightest object visible at night.

The object doesn’t move as fast as a shooting star, but when it passes, it will still be a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it opportunity.

Given the high possibility of missing the event, NASA has released a handy tool for locating the ISS before it arrives.

The agency’s “Spot the Station” site available here (International Space Station) forecasts sightings for most countries.

Mission Control at NASA’s Houston-based Johnson Space Centre evaluates opportunities for 6,700 potential locations.

People can find theirs on the built-in map, which lists locations by country and region.

For instance, there are 147 potential areas where people can sight the craft from in England, Wales, and Ireland combined, with nine in Scotland.

Zooming in on the map splits it into regions, showing that more than 100 of those are in Southeast England.

Clicking a location brings up a list of potential sighting opportunities in the days to come.

In Bromley on London’s outskirts, the next time people can catch a glimpse of the ISS is tonight at 9.38pm.

The site shows that the station will only hang in the air for roughly three minutes, however.

Astronauts estimate that it travels at approximately 4.75 miles every second, meaning people won’t have to wait long between viewings.

Site operators advise that anyone who can’t find their area on the list should look for nearby places.

They state the ISS is “visible for a long distance around each of the listed locations”.

On Tuesday, ISS management changed, with Russian cosmonaut Anton Shklaperov relinquishing command.

He handed over to NASA’s Tom Marshburn following a ceremony and parting words for his comrades.

Mr Shlaperov said he saw the ISS inhabitants as “one crew”, adding the station was a “symbol of friendship and cooperation”.

The four expedition veteran will return to his country via Kazakhstan today.

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