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Space Station visible over Ottawa Thursday — but only for three minutes

Cosmic ChrisC

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OTTAWA — Thursday night will be an unusually good chance to show your kids a spaceship, as the International Space Station passes high overhead just after 6 p.m.

It will be easy to see with the naked eye, as the white walls and metal panels of the station reflect the sun just as darkness is falling on Earth. The forecast is for clear skies.

The station, with a crew of six, will appear at 6:02 p.m. low in the sky, to the west northwest. (Find due west, then go a bit to the north.)

It will be visible for three minutes until it disappears into Earth’s shadow in the southeastern sky, before reaching the far horizon. During that overhead pass it will reach 84 degrees of elevation — almost directly overhead. (Straight up is 90 degrees.)

The station is the colour of a star, but brighter. It moves quickly and silently, travelling about 400 kilometres above the Earth, at nearly 28,000 km an hour.

The station is often visible just after sunset or just before sunrise, making this time of year a good time to show the kids a spaceship before bedtime. It always appears somewhere in the west and travels to somewhere in the east, but the exact course appears to change as Earth revolves under it.

© Copyright © The Ottawa Citizen

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