International Space Station will cross Columbia sky Wednesday evening

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 | 4:34 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The third brightest object in the sky should be visible Wednesday evening over mid-Missouri.

NASA expects the International Space Station to cut across Columbia's night sky at roughly 6:25 p.m.

The station should start in the west and travel northeast over Columbia for about 4-5 minutes before disappearing into the earth's shadow around 6:30 p.m.

"You'll be able to see it from your front yard," said Val Germann, co-director of the MU Laws Observatory. "You won't be able to miss it."

Germann said the station looks like a bright star and observers just need a clear sky. The station will pass Columbia every day this week, but probably won't be visible after tomorrow night. The Central Missouri Astronomical Association's Facebook page has posted maps of the station's path through the sky on Wednesday night.

According to NASA, the station is suppose to look like a fast-moving plane. It is best seen on clear nights and at high-level sighting spots. NASA's Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston determines the viewing sights for 4,600 locations around the world.

Last month, NASA launched Spot the Station, a service that sends out texts and emails to alert receivers when the International Space Station will pass a specific location.

Supervising editor is Zach Murdock.

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