Over the next 10 nights people will be amazed as a brilliant star like object will blaze across Irish skies – this is the 100 billion euro International Space Station (ISS) with seven astronauts on board.
“It is an incredible sight to see the International Space Station blazing across Irish skies so we are urging everyone in Ireland to go out and watch this amazing spectacle. The ISS is making space history rather like Columbus did when he set sail for the Americas. ISS is mankind’s first outpost in space. It’s 10 to 100 times brighter than the brightest star in the sky so it is plainly, indeed spectacularly, visible to the naked eye” said David Moore, Editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine who issues predictions every time ISS is visible in Irish skies.
The International Space Station will be blazing across the sky until May 27th, 2023.
ISS looks like an extremely bright star that takes a couple of minutes to cross the sky.
“It can be up to 100 times brighter that the brightest star in the sky so it is extremely easy to see, even from the centre of brightly lit cities!” said David Moore, Editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine who has been predicting when Irish people can see ISS in Irish skies since 1998, when it was first launched. He has met many of the ISS astronauts and applied for the job himself in the 1990’s.
WHEN TO WATCH
The times to see ISS are posted free of charge on Astronomy Ireland’s social media every afternoon before sunset. See www.astronomy.ie for links to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
FACTS ABOUT ISS
As you watch, remember ISS is travelling at 17,000miles(28,000km) per hour and it is 250miles (400km) above the ground.
It orbits the Earth every 90minutes meaning that it goes round the Earth 16 times a day.
The giant solar panels are wider than the wingspan of a jumbo jet. It is this huge size that gives ISS its spectacular brightness.
The first module was launched in 1998 and the space station has been manned continuously since 2000, usually by crews of 6 astronauts who do tours of duty 6 months long.
WHAT IS ISS USED FOR?
ISS is an effectively a huge laboratory in space carrying out experiments that can only be done in weightlessness, for example developing new drugs and exotic high technology materials.
The astronauts also monitor the effects of long term weightlessness on their bodies which will be important for the upcoming manned missions to Mars.
Such a huge space station also requires lots of ongoing maintenance including dangerous space walks.
So, the astronauts are lab technicians, guinea pigs and construction workers.