High Above Pottstown, Just Look! It’s The Space Station

With the blue and white Earth serving as a backdrop, the International Space Station is seen from Space Shuttle Atlantis in this 2008 NASA photo

POTTSTOWN PA – Keep your eyes on the evening skies over Pottstown now (Tuesday, Oct. 18) through the end of the month and, if you’re in the right place at the right time, you’ll be able to see the International Space Station whiz by.

“It will appear as a steady white pinpoint of light moving across the sky,” the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said. If weather conditions are right, though, “the Space Station can be seen with the unaided eye or through binoculars,” it added.

Because the space station travels quickly (tens of thousands of miles an hour), and because Pottstown is a relatively small spot on the planet, the viewing window of opportunity on any given day doesn’t last long. In fact, it will be seen in the sky over the borough for about 4 minutes Wednesday night (Oct. 19) between 6:59 and 7:03, ), according to NASA.

Look up at the night sky at an angle of about 67 degrees, the space agency suggests, and train your eyes toward the west-southwest. Then start scanning for that fast-moving light. It will leave the area headed northeast.

There are 10 other days during October in which the space station can be spied above, usually for as much as 4 minutes and sometimes for less than a minute. It all depends on the station’s orbit and speed, and Earth’s rotation. On at least two nights this week – Wednesday and Friday (Oct. 21) – you get not one but two chances to find the space station.

NASA routinely encourages sky-watching like this, not only for the space station but also for other satellites, seasonal constellations and the moon. It even suggests groups of people get together and hold “star parties” as regular events.

As if you needed an excuse to hold a party …

Space station photo from NASA