Skygazers in Shimla were in for a treat of a celestial spectacle when they were able to discern the International Space Station from the sky with naked eyes. The ISS is the farthest outpost of humanity and could be seen as a glowing star moving at a significant speed.
The International Space Station is moving at a blinding speed of 7.6 kilometers per second or 17500 miles per hour and is perched at a height of 400 kilometers. The station takes 90 minutes to circle the globe once. The station travels a distance which is equal to a visit to the moon and back in one day. It is the next bright thing in the sky after the brilliant planet Venus. It can be viewed from Earth with a telescope if you know exactly where the station will be at that particular time of the day. You can get to know where the station will be here.
The ISS was built by 15 participating nations and costs $100 billion and is operational to this day. It includes NASA, Russia’s Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
The ISS is regularly inhabited by both cosmonauts and astronauts. In the past, the Shuttle used to ferry astronauts to the outpost, but after the closure of the Space Shuttle program, NASA has to depend on Russian launch vehicles which are now ferrying astronauts to the space station. Private companies are also involved in sending supplies to the ISS. The crews at the station maintain and often carry out dangerous spacewalks to repair and remove any glitch in the working of the space station. In the event of an emergency, the crew can evacuate the station and return to Earth aboard the two Russian Soyuz capsule which remains attached to the space station.
The space station has been seen from many parts of the globe but it has been observed in Shimla. It is to remain in sight until December 6, 2016. It is the only place where the ISS can be viewed with naked eyes. The station was visible only for a minute at 5.30 am followed by a minute at 6.37 pm and then again at 7.06 pm. The event was clearly captured in video by enthusiasts.