The ISS celebrates 12 years of continuous crew occupation, NASA releases web app to help you spot it

The International Space Station just celebrated its 12th anniversary of having a crew continuously onboard, and to mark the occasion, NASA's unveiled a new service to help folks catch the station in the night sky. Dubbed Spot the Station, the web app texts or emails the time that the ISS will pass over a user's location to their phone. The calculations are done for more than 4,600 places across the globe by NASA's Johnson Space Center, which determines when the ISS will be high enough in the sky to be seen above obstacles such as trees and buildings. Since the station is the second brightest object in the night sky after the moon, it'll appear to the naked eye as if it were a star moving at a steady clip. To get pinged with sighting alerts by NASA, hit the second source link below.

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Spot The Space Station Over Your Backyard With New NASA Service

WASHINGTON -- On the 12th anniversary of crews continuously living and working aboard the International Space Station, NASA announced Friday a new service to help people see the orbiting laboratory when it passes overhead. "Spot the Station" will send an email or text message to those who sign up for the service a few hours before they will be able to see the space station.

"It's really remarkable to see the space station fly overhead and to realize humans built an orbital complex that can be spotted from Earth by almost anyone looking up at just the right moment," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for human exploration and operations. "We're accomplishing science on the space station that is helping to improve life on Earth and paving the way for future exploration of deep space."

When the space station is visible -- typically at dawn and dusk -- it is the brightest object in the night sky, other than the moon. On a clear night, the station is visible as a fast moving point of light, similar in size and brightness to the planet Venus. "Spot the Station" users will have the options to receive alerts about morning, evening or both types of sightings.

The International Space Station's trajectory passes over more than 90 percent of Earth's population. The service is designed to only notify users of passes that are high enough in the sky to be easily visible over trees, buildings and other objects on the horizon. NASA's Johnson Space Center calculates the sighting information several times a week for more than 4,600 locations worldwide, all of which are available on "Spot the Station."

Nov. 2 marks 12 years of continuous human habitation of the space station.

To sign up for "Spot the Station," visit: http://spotthestation.nasa.gov

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NASA releases web app to help you spot ISS, celebrates 12 years of continuous crew occupation