If Washington, D.C., residents blink between 7:35 and 7:40 p.m. this evening, they may miss the International Space Station zooming over the nation’s capital.
Flying at an altitude of 220 miles, the ISS will be visible to the naked eye in the clear autumn sky; but, as the Fayetteville Observer notes, viewing the satellite through a telescope should allow for seeing finer details.
The ISS will be visible in several other locations in a path across the South and along the East Coast. The entire show should last about five minutes. Starting over Panama City, Fla., the ISS will be visible between 7:35 and 7:36 p.m. before moving through Georgia and the Carolinas, including Fayetteville, N.C.
Between 7:38 and 7:39 p.m. the ISS will be at its highest point in the sky, flying directly over Williamsburg, Va., and Salisbury, Md. It will fly near Cape May, N.J., at 7:39 p.m. and disappear from view just before approaching Cape Cod, Mass., at 7.40 p.m.
Bob Ryan of WJLA says the view of the ISS during this time of year is especially enjoyable as the station’s solar panels continue be to reflect light from the sun and it will appear as a very bright object streaming across the sky.
The Fayetteville Observer also notes viewers may see a reddish color emitting from the ISS as it sails out of view.
While those on Earth may only be able to see the ISS at opportune times, the crew of three astronauts currently on board experience a sunrise and sunset every one and a half hours as that is how long it takes the space station to orbit the Earth.