(Photo by Flickr user NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, used under a Creative Commons license)
Want to look really smart in front of your friends? Tell them exactly when to look up into the sky to see the International Space Station (ISS).
Many people don’t know that because the ISS orbits Earth about 12 times per day, us earthlings in Philadelphia (and all around the world) often have multiple chances to view it with our bare eyes every day.
NASA keeps an updated schedule of possible ISS sightings to indulge space geeks all over the world. Not only can you filter the list to your location (it asks for your country, state and city), but you can also sign up to get email or text alerts right before it appears in the sky, if you really want to be on top of your game.
In addition to the times of a possible sighting, NASA provides the maximum height (in degrees) and coordinates of where the ISS will appear and disappear in the sky. (Thankfully, they also provide an easily understandable explanation of how to use that information to find it.)
While you’re at it, take a minute to read up on some of the cool stuff that NASA’s been doing on board the ISS lately, like growing vegetables in space and measuring the physical toll that long-term space flight takes on the human body. Every bit of this research brings NASA closer to their goal of putting humans into deep space — and onto Mars — in the next couple of decades.
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