You can now spot the International Space Station (ISS) commanded by Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams without a telescope as it passes your house, thanks to NASA’s new SMS service.
“Spot the Station” will send you a text message as the ISS passes over your house.
The International Space Station is the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon, however, most people still cannot tell where the orbiting laboratory is.
NASA will send an email or text message to those who sign up for the service a few hours before they will be able to see the space station, the US space agency said in a statement.
Once you know where to look, people should be able to see it easily – even without a telescope.
The service was launched to celebrate the 12th anniversary of crews living and working aboard the station presently commanded by Williams.
“It’s really remarkable to see the space station fly overhead and to realise humans built an orbital complex that can be spotted from Earth by almost anyone looking up at just the right moment,” said William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations.
“We’re accomplishing science on the space station that is helping to improve life on Earth and paving the way for future exploration of deep space,” he said.
The station is usually at peak visibility at dawn and dusk. When skies are clear, it typically appears as fast-moving point of light.
Spot the Station will calculate the station’s proximity to more than 4,600 positions on Earth, updating its information several times per week.
The service will only notify users if the station is easily visible above trees, buildings, and other objects.
In order to sign up for the service one can visit NASA’s website http://spotthestation.nasa.gov.
The crew on-board the ISS apart from Williams are Russian cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko, Evgeny Tarelkin and Oleg Novitskiy, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and NASA astronaut Kevin Ford, all flight engineers.