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By Daniel Ritz
This holiday season, the International Space Station (ISS) will be visible during optimum viewing periods. On Monday, Dec. 25, the ISS will be visible for six minutes at 6:15 a.m. The ISS will appear 11 degrees above south-southwest, and disappear 11 degrees above northeast.
All sightings of the ISS will occur within a few hours before or after sunrise or sunset. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explained that this is because the sun reflects off the space station and contrasts against the darker sky. With the horizon at zero degrees, the ISS will reach a maximum height of 54 degrees.
The space station will look like an airplane or a very bright star moving across the sky, except it doesn’t have flashing lights or change direction. It will also be moving considerably faster than a typical airplane (airplanes generally fly at about 600 miles an hour; the space station flies at 17,500 miles per hour).
A full list of times when the ISS will be visible in the Dana Point sky can be found at www.spotthestation.nasa.gov.