The International Space Station (ISS) will be visible above the skies of Cheshire this month.
The spectacular sight will be visible for a short time each day and night for most of July.
The craft has been crewed and operational since November 2000 and has made over 125,964 orbits of the earth.
Acting as a ‘microgravity laboratory’ facility, the station travels at 17,500mph, making it visible to the naked eye for a few minutes at various times in the month.
The longest sighting of the month in Cheshire, according to a handy time-sheet by Halton Borough Council, will take place on the following days: Thursday 15, Friday 16, Sunday 18, Tuesday 20, Friday 23, Sunday 25 and Tuesday 27.
On the above days, the ISS will be visible for around six minutes to Cheshire residents as it circles the earth.
Take a look below at the full list of when the ISS will be visible above Cheshire:
- July 15: 11.31pm
- July 16: 1.08am, 10.44pm
- July 17: 12.20am, 1.57am, 11.33pm
- July 18: 1.10am, 10.46pm
- July 19: 12.23am, 11.35pm
- July 20: 1.12am, 10.48pm
- July 21: 12.12am, 11.37pm
- July 22: 10.50pm
- July 23: 12.27am, 10.03pm, 11.40pm
- July 24: 10.52pm
- July 25: 10.05pm, 11.32pm
- July 26: 10.54pm
- July 27: 10.07pm
- July 28: 10.57pm
- July 29: 10.09pm
We’ve also answered some of the most frequently asked questions about the ISS below.
Why is the space station up there?
The ISS is a microgravity laboratory.
The ship is the size of a football field and hosts a number of science and technology experiments.
These are contentiously being conducted by both crew members or automated machinery.
NASA say that research on the ISS benefits life back on Earth as well as future space exploration.
According to the Administration: “The space station serves as a testbed for technologies and allows us to study the impacts of long-term spaceflight to humans, supporting NASA’s mission to push human presence farther into space.”
How often can I expect to see the space station?
According to NASA, the ISS is visible because it reflects the light of the sun – the same reason the moon is visible.
However, unlike the moon, the ISS is not bright enough to see during the day and can only be seen when it is dawn or dusk.
Sighting opportunities range between a month to several a week.
It has to be both dark where you are, and the space station has to be going overhead.
How do I know it’s the space station?
The ISS is often confused with an airplane.
However, NASA say that unlike an airplane, or very bright star, it doesn’t have flashing lights or change direction.
The Administration said: “It will also be moving considerably faster than a typical airplane (airplanes generally fly at about 600 miles per hour; the space station flies at 17,500 miles per hour).”
How fast is the space station travelling?
The space station circles the earth every 90 minutes at a speed of 17,500mph.
The speed at which it travels gives the crew 16 sunrises and sunsets each day.
In the years that people have been living onboard, the Station has circumnavigated the Earth tens of thousands of times.
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