International Space Station will be visible to naked eye in UAE

If the skies are clear, people will be able to spot the station without a telescope

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UAE residents will be able to spot the International Space Station for five minutes on Sunday night when the research laboratory will be visible to the naked eye.

Space enthusiasts will be able to see the station at 7.43pm for five minutes and again, for less than a minute, at 9.20pm on Sunday.

The ISS is expected to flash across the UAE’s night sky again for three minutes on Monday at 8.31pm, Tuesday at 7.42pm for four minutes and on Thursday and Sunday for three minutes each at 7.40pm and 4.49am respectively.

The space station will look like a bright star that moves much quicker than a plane, according to Mission Control at Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre.

Should skies be clear and humidity light, residents may be able to spot the third-brightest object after the Moon and Venus as it zips across the sky.

Travelling at a speed of 28,000 kilometres per hour – about 29 times the speed of an average plane – the space station circles the Earth every 90 minutes.

Nasa’s dedicated Spot the Station website identifies sighting opportunities at more than 6,700 locations across the globe several times a week but only when the station is visible and not every time it is overhead.

The orbiting station is visible at specific times before dawn or after dusk since it is not bright enough to be seen during the day.

This is because the space station must be 40 degrees or more above the horizon to be visible and the location of viewing must be dark. It is for this reason that the station is not visible when it passes over the country late at night or during the day.

Sightings can be as limited as once a month to several times a week.

In a little more than 100 days, the UAE’s first Emirati astronaut will be headed to the ISS.

Hazza Al Mansouri will embark on an eight-day mission on September 25. He and other astronauts will conduct research experiments that will benefit future explorations and contribute to studies on Earth.

Residents keen to see the station can sign up for alerts by emailing to receive an alert on when the ISS will next pass overhead.

Alerts are sent out 12 hours before the space station passes.