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News – Beginning Saturday morning? Look at the space station!


OUT OF THIS WORLD | Earth, space and everything in the meantime – everyday travel through time, space and science with meteorologist / scientific writer Scott Sutherland

Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist / Scientific writer

Friday, November 9, 2018, 17:46 – Hey, south Ontario! If you are early in the morning on Saturday, turn your eyes to the sky, for one of the best chances to see the International Space Station above your head!

In the breathy sky there are many cool things – planets, stars, comets, meteor showers, and even the Milky Way – but there is something to say about watching and watching something we put there!

For viewers in the early morning hours in southern Ontario on Saturday, November 10, it's a great time to experience this, as the International Space Trail creates a flyover.

They will appear over the northwestern horizon around 6:07 AM ET, be visible between four and six minutes, depending on where you are, while going overhead and then disappearing outside the southeastern horizon.

What will we see?

The international space station has a very different form. Astronauts who visit the station see it in their glory.

International Space Station, as seen from Space Shuttle Atlantis, 2010. Credit: NASA

If viewed over a telescope, observers often compare it with TIE Fighter from Star Wars.

However, looking overhead over one of these airplanes, without the use of a telescope, the station will simply appear as a small, bright circle of light, moving at a constant pace across the sky, as shown in the animation below.

This animation shows what a space station looks like, from the earth, through the eyes that did not go in. The animation is accelerated in about two or three times normal, and the light reflects the conditions under a clear, dark sky, far from the source of light pollution. Credit: Stellarium / Scott Sutherland


The transition to the space station will focus on the Georgian Gulf, Peterborough and Trenton. So, at these locations, it will pass directly above your head and it will be the brightest.

The ISS Path, November 10, 2018, from 6:09 AM to 6:15 AM ET while passing through southern Ontario. Red onion is the ISS path. The green line and blue arches record the field of view of the live camera on the ISS. Credit: satflare.com

The station will be visible, although hundreds of kilometers on either side of that line.

For those who observe from the west or southwest side of the red line traced in the upper animation, the station will continue to appear in the northwest and disappear in the southeast, but will study the fault along the northeastern part of the sky, and the further viewer is from the line, the more in the northeast , the blame will be distorted. By contrast, for anyone located east or northeast of the line, the observer will see the route of the fault curve in the southwest.

Space station track, as shown in the ISS Detector application, for Android. Credit: ISS detector / Scott Sutherland

However, because the above examples explain only Windsor, Toronto and Belleville, the greatest factor determines whether the observer watches the station on Saturday morning.


As with any kind of skyscraper or stargazing event, the cloud cover is probably the most important factor to consider.

Afternoon afternoon, the forecast for the clouds on Saturday morning shows that a clear patch will develop, after active Friday night will pass through parts of Southwest Ontario, the Great Toronto area and the northern regions of eastern Ontario.

However, accurate cloud positions can be developed overnight, as this time system is progressing east. So check your local forecast before you go out, to make sure you have the right skies!

Do you want to see what ISS sees, how is it going through Ontario? Watch live videos with the camera on the space station on NASA's Web site.

Sources: NASA | satflare.com | Stellarium.org

The teaser image of a space station fliover with the ESA's ATV-5 cargo spaceship is kindly Julien Harrod, with the European Space Agency. Several individual images are complex to make this final picture, showing the station and cargo ship at many points along its tracks, all at once. They thus appear as long lines, and not just the points of light among the stars.


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