Look, Up in the Sky, It's... the Space Station and Shuttle! - NBC4 Washington

Look, Up in the Sky, It's... the Space Station and Shuttle!

"It's going to be a bright, fast-moving dot": Astronomer



    Top 4 Reasons to Go to ZooLights
    NASA/Getty Images
    This is what we look like to them. In this handout image provided by NASA, backdropped by a blue and white Earth and the blackness of space, a partial view of Space Shuttle Endeavour's payload bay, vertical stabilizer and orbital maneuvering system (OMS) pods are seen in mid-July in space.

    How can you miss a space station the size of a football field that's also got a space shuttle attached to it? 

    Well, if the skies in D.C. tonight aren't clear, it might be easy to miss.  Then again, the international space station and space shuttle Endeavor, docked together and carrying 13 astronauts, is BIG and reflects a lot of sunlight, according to Geoff Chester, an astronomer at the Naval Observatory.

    "Both objects are bright on their own, but tie them together and they're even brighter," Geoff Chester told The Washington Post.

    In other words, the weekend flybys will be hard to miss because, even if they're going to look like a "bright, fast-moving dot" in the sky, it'll be like seeing the planet Venus, according to Chester.  At 220 miles above Earth and travelling at 17,5000 mph.

    There was a brief window of viewing Saturday night, from 9:03 p.m. for approximately 4 minutes and also at 10:38 p.m. for less than a minute, according to NASA's satellite sighting info, but the rain blocked out any sightings at those times.

    So we might luck out tonight, when NASA predicts the space station and shuttle will appear for 3 minutes starting at 9:28 p.m.