The International Space Station (ISS) currently orbiting approximately 400 kilometers above the Earth’s surface will treat us with a spectacular sight on November 3, 2012, as it zooms past above the Philippines. The satellite will be visible to us because its solar panels will be geometrically well-placed to reflect sunlight towards the ground, acting like giant space mirrors. From the ground, it will look like a very bright flare coming from the northwestern horizon and then slowly (much like an airplane) move towards the southeastern horizon until it disappears from view. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes, from 06:10:29 pm to 06:19:09 pm and will be visible to the naked eye. No special equipment is required to observe the satellite flyby. (Predictions updated as of 1 pm, November 3, 2012.)

Predictions courtesy of Heavens-Above, developed and maintained by Chris Peat.

Those with cameras and telephoto lenses may attempt to image the satellite and detect structure, similar to the photo below.

Image of the International Space Station (ISS) as it passes 450 km above Manila at 4:59:01 am, March 15, 2012. The main body and the solar panels of the satellite are visible in this photo. 4-in f/9 refractor, Canon 450D, ISO 1600, 1/100 sec exposure.  This is my second attempt in capturing the ISS. Photo credit: Anthony Urbano (Click on the photo for a higher-resolution view).

Related links: International Space StationIridium Satellite Flares

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© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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