The International Space Station about 354 kilometres above Earth. Photo: NASA
You get sales alerts, Twitter alerts, sports alerts and Facebook alerts. Now you can also get an alert when the International Space Station is visible overhead thanks to NASA's new web app Spot the Station.
The International Space Station's orbit 200 miles (322 kilometres) above Earth makes it visible to more than 90 per cent of the Earth's population, NASA said. The trick is knowing when to look for it.
NASA's Johnson Space Centre already calculates the sighting information several times a week for more than 4600 locations worldwide. With its new web app, it shares that information with the space-obsessed public.
As long as you know where to look, the International Space Station is pretty easy to see, NASA said. It is the third-brightest object in the sky after the sun and the moon, and it looks like a fast moving point of light about the size and brightness of the planet Venus.
If you sign up for the newly released web app, you'll get an alert via email a few hours before the International Space Station will be visible from your neighbourhood. NASA said it will only alert users of the app when conditions are right for good viewing — such as when the Space Station is more than 40 degrees high in the sky and when the viewing will last long enough that you'll be sure to catch it.
The Space Station is typically visible at dawn and dusk, and you can tell the alert system to tell you about morning viewings, evening viewings, or both.
The International Space Station just celebrated 12 years of manned orbit 200 miles above the Earth.
Los Angeles Times