26 September 2023

Stargazers invited to gaze at space station

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The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is urging people to look up into the sky this week to see the International Space Station (ISS).

Leader of the Centre for Accelerator Science at ANSTO, Ceri Brenner said that for one week only, the Station would be clearly visible above Australia.

“The dazzling sight rivals the planet Venus in terms of brightness and its commanding position as it moves across the night sky,” Dr Brenner said.

“To look up and see something moving with elegance and grace across the heavens, knowing it was put there by humans is an awe inspiring and humbling sight,” she said.

Dr Brenner said the Station sighting held even greater significance when people took a moment to appreciate how far scientific achievement had come in such a short amount time.

“It was less than 95 years ago that Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and his four-man crew made history becoming the first people to fly across the Pacific,” she said.

“Today, we have permanent base in space the size of a soccer field weighing 450 tonnes.”

Dr Brenner warned, however, that just because it was big, people should not be fooled into thinking the ISS was slow moving.

“The ISS does eight kilometres per second, meaning it races around the Earth in about 90 minutes,” she said.

“That’s 16 orbits per day.”

The exact times and positions for spotting the ISS can be accessed on the NASA website at this PS News link where readers’ locations can be checked and changed.

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