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Night Sky: planet pairings and space stations


Andrew Fazekas, astronomer
June 23, 2012 — Stargazers have a lot to look forward to in the night sky throughout the next week. Night Sky Guy Andrew Fazekas has the details.


The International Space Station will be making flybys between June 22 and June 24
The International Space Station will be making flybys between June 22 and June 24

From June 22 to 24 the International Space Station (ISS) will be making bright flybys in the few hours following local sunset.

Making it a grand sight is that the station is about as big as a football field, and very reflective to sunlight, making it unusually bright in appearance in the sky to the naked eye.

Just look for an unblinking white star gliding across the clear sky from horizon to horizon in about two to four minutes.

With a crew of six astronauts, it's traveling about 27,000 kilometres per hour at 400 kilometres in altitude -- so it takes it only 90 minutes to make one orbit around our planet.

The moon will appear just below Mars on June 24
The moon will appear just below Mars on June 24

Exact viewing times and directions of where to look for the ISS in the sky depends on geographical location. To get local viewing timetables visit TheNightSkyGuy.com.

Skywatchers also get a chance to see a waxing crescent moon paying visits to a series of planets, starting with Mercury in the low west on June 22 and June 23.

A pair of binoculars will help hunt down the innermost planet in the solar system. Then from June 24 through June 28 the Moon will hang just below Mars and then Saturn. Visit TheNightSkyGuy.com for more information.

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