International Space Station wows Perth skygazers

Stock Photo
Stock Photo

CLEAR skies at sunset are giving Perth sky gazers some of the best views of the International Space Station.

With a crew of six, the 20-year-old, 108m-wide, 418-tonne ISS is the third-brightest object seen in the sky.

It travels at 7.7km/sec during its 15.5 orbits of the Earth each day, and will orbit 400km above Perth for the next three nights.

“While it’s evening down here, the station is at a high enough altitude to still catch the setting sunlight,” Perth Observatory spokesman Matt Wood said.

The US, Europe, Russia, Japan and Canada joint venture tests the effects of long space flights on humans.

On Monday night, communitynews.com.au watched the station appear about 6.37pm as a fast-moving, bright light that came out off the north west sky.

It took about five minutes to reach the south west horizon.

On Tuesday, depending on cloud, it will appear from the west at 7.27pm, from west of north-west at 6.35pm on Wednesday, and west of south west at 6.31pm on Thursday.

The pass over Perth take only a few minutes.

“Anywhere is a good place to see it, the best places will be away from light,” Mr Wood added.

He said the station went over Perth in the evenings once each month, and at other times in the afternoons and mornings when it would be hard to see.

The station will next be at its brightest about 6.45pm on May 11 and 5.45pm on May 14.

Go to https://spotthestation.nasa.gov for full details of Perth sightings, or visit www.perthobservatory.com.au for more information.