Although the International Space Station orbits the Earth 24 times a day, sightings are not always aligned with the clear skies in the Pacific Northwest. But this weekend, stargazers will have nine chances to see the third brightest object in space.
After two passes northwest on Friday, one at 9:34 p.m. and another at 11:09 p.m., the space station will be visible five times on Saturday and four on Sunday. On Saturday, the space station will pass through Seattle at 12:46 AM, 2:23 AM, 4 AM, 10:22 PM, and 11:59 PM. : 1 PM, 9:34 PM, and 11:11 PM (To view the complete list and to subscribe to notifications, go to spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings)
The space station looks like a plane or a very bright star moving through the sky. It doesn̵7;t have flickering lights or veers, and it moves much faster than an airplane.
Although there are 24 orbits around the Earth each day, the space station is visible within hours of sunset or sunrise as it is not bright enough to be seen in the daytime.
However, it might not be a welcome surprise to those concerned about light pollution. According to a recent study accepted by the Royal Astronomical Society’s monthly announcement, man-made space objects have made the skies up to 10 percent brighter.
This exceeded the criteria astronomers set for light pollution 40 years ago, according to SpaceRef’s report on the space sector.
“Unlike ground light pollution, this kind of artificial light in the night sky can be seen in most areas of the Earth’s surface,” said John Barentine, public policy director for the International Dark Sky Association. And co-authors The study told SpaceRef, “Astronomers built observatories distant from city lights in search of darkened skies. But this form of light pollution has a much wider geographic reach. ”