International Space Station visible from SA on Wednesday night – here’s how to spot it

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The International Space Station (ISS) will be visible to the naked eye from several parts of South Africa on Wednesday night.

Budding astronomers that want to catch a glimpse of the space station as it orbits Earth will need to be in the right place at the right time.

The ISS sighting will be brief and is expected to occur from 6:48pm to 6:55pm.

South Africans in Gauteng, the North West province and Limpopo should be able to view it. It will also be visible in Gaborone, Botswana.

According to Nasa the ISS is the third brightest object in the sky, so it should be easy to see with the naked eye. Although a sighting of the ISS is said to look similar to a plane, it will appear much higher and will be moving faster.

In fact, the ISS moves so fast it circles the Earth every 90 minutes. It travels at about 28,000 kilometres per hour, which gives the crew 16 sunrises and sunsets every day.

However, it can only be seen at night and the space station needs to be overhead in order for you to see it. The space station must be 40 degrees or more above the horizon for it to be visible. 

The space station is visible because it is reflecting light from the sun. This is the same reason the moon appears to shine.

Source: citizen