NASA will e-mail you when the ISS is overhead

"Spot the Station" sends alerts when the International Space Station, the third brightest object in the sky, is going to pass above your location.

Sunlight glints off the International Space Station with the blue limb of Earth providing a dramatic backdrop in this photo taken by an astronaut on the shuttle Endeavour just before it docked after midnight on Feb. 10, 2010
Sunlight glints off the ISS, with the blue limb of Earth providing a dramatic backdrop, in this photo taken by an astronaut on the shuttle Endeavour just before it docked after midnight on February 10, 2010. NASA

You may or may not know that the International Space Station is visible from Earth with the naked eye. If you didn't know, NASA wants to make sure you do. The space agency has created a service that will send e-mail and text alerts when the ISS is above your location.

It's called "Spot the Station." The system allows you to give your e-mail address and receive notices when the ISS, the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon, is orbiting above your area. Given that the ISS passes over roughly 90 percent of the Earth's population, most people will have a chance to spot the space station sooner or later.

The Web site for "Spot the Station" emphasizes that alerts will only be sent out for "good" observations -- that is, times when the space station is high enough over the horizon and in view long enough to make sky-gazing worthwhile. Even with these restrictions, NASA estimates that "Spot the Station" will offer viewing opportunities several times a month.

The International Space Station, which launched in October of 2000, is roughly the size of a football field and, according to NASA, "has more livable room than a conventional five-bedroom house, and has two bathrooms, a gymnasium and a 360-degree bay window."

This story originally appeared on CBSNews.

 

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