Categorized | Featured, Sci-Tech

Wish you were here: Above the clouds

 

One the dozen telescopes atop Mauna Kea peeks through the clouds Saturday, June 27. Hawaii stargazers will be able to see the International Space Station this weekend. (Hawaii247.com photo by Karin Stanton)

One the dozen telescopes atop Mauna Kea peeks through the clouds Saturday, June 27. Hawaii stargazers will be able to see the International Space Station this weekend. (Hawaii247.com photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton/Hawaii247.com Contributing Editor

Scientists working at the Mauna Kea telescopes are used to seeing neat stuff in the sky, but regular stargazers are in for treat over the next week or so.

The International Space Station will be visible as it orbits 220 miles above Earth.

According to NASA, Hawaii is among the many U.S. locations that will have unusually long sighting opportunities of as much as 5 minutes, weather permitting, as the station flies almost directly overhead. 

To find out when to see the station from your city, visit: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings

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The largest spacecraft ever built, the station also is the most reflective. It will be brighter than most stars at dawn and dusk, appearing as a solid, glowing light, slowly traversing the predawn or evening sky. 

It is visible when lit by the sun while the ground below is not in full daylight. 

It moves across the sky too fast for conventional telescopes, but a good set of binoculars can enhance the viewing experience, even revealing some detail of the station’s structure. 

The station circles Earth every 90 minutes. It is 357 feet long, about the length of a football field including the end zones, and 45 feet tall. Its reflective solar arrays are 240 feet wide, a wingspan greater than that of a jumbo jet, and have a total surface area of more than 38,000 square feet. 

An international crew of six astronauts, including American flight engineer Michael Barratt, is aboard the complex conducting research and continuing its assembly. Other crew members are from Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan. 

For more information about the station, visit www.nasa.gov/station

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