Coronavirus lockdown: It was not too long ago when high air pollution in some of our cities was the biggest news of the day. Air Quality Index (AQI) used to breach the previous records in different parts of the country. Only those who could afford a visit to far off hill stations could behold the clear and blue sky. With the onset of the complete lockdown due to COVID-19 outbreak, the sky is returning to its full glory with chirping birds and dazzling stars. Not only stars, one could also see the International Space Station (ISS) flying past at an earth-shattering speed of 17,500 miles per hour. The International Space Station which came into existence in 1998 has been in space for more than 15 years and orbits our planet sixteen times in a day. To help space enthusiasts keep a track of its movement, NASA lists out the exact time at which the ISS flies over different parts of the world according to different time zones, CNBC reported.
NASA sends out notifications and reminders pointing out the exact time and definite direction from which the ISS would emerge in lakhs of cities and towns in the world. For example, the ISS hovered over New York City in the United States at 9:14 PM on Wednesday. NASA has a dedicated website named Spot the Station where people can register for getting notifications about the ISS flying over their towns or cities. The notification contains the direction it is flying from, duration of its visibility with naked eyes and the destination it is headed to. However, tuning in at the exact time and in the right direction is of utmost importance as the ISS can be visible from the minimum of one minute to the maximum of 6 minutes.
What would distinguish the ISS from the stars is its dazzling sparkle which originates from massive solar panels used in the aircraft. Unlike stars which blip in a recurring fashion, the spark of the ISS remains steady. Being the third brightest object in the space, one could easily spot the spacecraft which flies like a fast moving aircraft. At present there are three members on the ISS which include two American astronauts- Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan- and one Russian astronaut Oleg Skripochka, CNBC reported.
With the lockdown imposed in the whole country and people looking for ways to spend their time productively, viewing the International Space Station from the balconies and terrace of your house can be a pleasant learning experience.