Watch out for the International Space Station over Dublin sky tonight

10 Apr 2013

The International Space Station photographed by a crew member on the space shuttle Endeavour in May 2011 after the shuttle undocked from the ISS. Photo via NASA

Stargazers are set to be in for a treat tonight as the International Space Station (ISS) will be passing over Dublin at around 9.49pm. And provided that the skies are clear, people will be able to view the station as a very bright object drifting across the sky.

According to Astronomy Ireland, the ISS will be most visible over the Irish capital at around 9.49pm tonight.

The ISS, which orbits the Earth every 92 minutes from a distance of around 350km, moves at about 8km per second. The space station, including its large solar arrays, is about the size and width of a football pitch. The ISS weighs almost 925,000 pounds (420,000 kg) – that’s equal to more than 320 cars.

The complex features two bathrooms, a gym and a 360-degree bay window. The latter is presumably where Cmdr Chris Hadfield, one of six astronauts currently aboard the station, hangs out to take the photos of Earth that he shares via Twitter.

Hadfield, who has been resident on the space station since December, has become quite the Twitter sensation in recent months for his photos. Earlier this week, he tweeted photos of the Cork coastline from space, while last night he tweeted photos of both Belfast and Dublin City as the ISS passed over Ireland.

In all, 52 computers control the systems on the ISS, while 3.3m lines of software code on the ground support 1.8m lines of flight software code.

The station’s solar array wingspan, at 73 metres (240 feet), is longer than that of a Boeing 777 200/300 model, and supplies the power for the space station.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic