By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun
11:16 AM EDT, April 22, 2013
Spot the International Space Station moving across the night sky this week. Chances arise the next three nights, but the best viewing opportunity Wednesday is possible to coincide with rain and thunderstorms.
Look tonight at 8:59 p.m., Tuesday at 9:45 p.m. and Wednesday at 8:54 p.m. In each case, the space station will appear brighter than a star moving steadily across the sky, first appearing on the northwestern horizon.
Wednesday’s will be the best chance, with the spacecraft taking a path directly overhead and at its brightest. But forecasts are calling for a 50 percent chance of rain Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service.
It takes about 6 minutes for the space station to cross the sky, but Tuesday's opportunity will be only about half that before the space station disappears into the shadows.
Given all that, you might want to spot the space station Monday while you have the chance. It will stay low in the sky, passing eastward through the constellations Cassiopeia and Ursa Minor, better known as the Little Dipper.
Look out for Jupiter low in the western sky while you're out there.
The space station's current crew, on Expedition 35, is led by Canadian space agency astronaut Chris Hadfield and includes NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn and Chris Cassidy, both flight engineers.
The space station could soon gets its first reinforcements from a commercial spacecraft after a successful launch of Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Antares rocket Sunday. The rocket launched at 5 p.m. after several delays in the preceding days.
"Today's successful test marks another significant milestone in NASA's plan to rely on American companies to launch supplies and astronauts to the International Space Station, bringing this important work back to the United States where it belongs," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.
A demonstration mission for Orbital Sciences to resupply the space station is scheduled for later this year.
Copyright © 2013, The Baltimore Sun