Double Spaceship Sighting Alert – and last chance to see Discovery in orbit

by Nancy Atkinson on March 7, 2011

Discovery and ISS pass over the UK on March 7, 2011, captured by Will Gater.

UPDATE: We’ve already got a sighting! The image above was taken this evening in the UK by science writer Will Gater.

Space shuttle Discovery undocked from the ISS on early Monday, March 7, and depending where you live, you might have an opportunity to see the two spaceships flying in tandem. This is an incredible sight, and will be the last opportunity to see Discovery in orbit, as she will be retired after she lands and completes the STS-133 mission. Spaceweather.com reports that the station and shuttle will be flying over parts of the United States and Europe Monday and Tuesday, appearing in the night sky as a closely-spaced pair of bright lights. The ISS is bigger, so will appear as the brighter object trailing the smaller Discovery as they move across the sky.

To find out if you’ll be able to see the two spaceships in your area, there are a few different sites to check out:

NASA has a Skywatch page where you can find your specific city to look for satellite sighting info.

Spaceweather.com, has a Satellite Tracker Tool. Just put in your zip code (good for the US and Canada) to find out what satellites will be flying over your house.

Heaven’s Above also has a city search, but also you can input your exact latitude and longitude for exact sighting information, helpful if you live out in the country.

Seeing the two spacecraft flying closely in tandem is a very unique and thrilling sight. Good luck!

Below, watch some of the incredible views as Discovery performed the fly-around maneuver of the ISS early Monday.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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