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You can view the International Space Station from Vancouver tonight

It's visible to the naked eye.
Vancouver stargazers may view the International Space Station with the naked eye from the city on Thursday, July 16. Photo: NASA Johnson / Flickr

Want to view the International Space Station up close and personal?

According to, it's somewhat of a commitment. It requires that you are in top physical condition and have at least a bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics, as well as three years of professional experience before you are even considered for the selection process.

With this in mind, only a diehard astronaut hopeful will commit to this lengthy and demanding journey. However, you can still view this marvel of human ingenuity from a distance with both feet firmly planted in Vancouver soil (or grass, or pavement - you get the picture). In fact, the International Space Station is viewable from the Lower Mainland on numerous occasions - but you'll have to know exactly where and when to look for it.

Luckily, tonight is one of those nights, weather permitting.

While the sun is shining in Vancouver today (July 15),  Environment Canada's evening forecast calls for "increasing cloudiness."

Stargazers can set their alarms for around 11 p.m.; the station will be viewable at 11:18 p.m.

So, what exactly does the station look like?

According to NASA, the station is visible to the naked eye and looks like a "fast-moving plane only much higher and travelling thousands of miles an hour faster."

With that said, it is the third brightest object in the sky, which makes spotting it less difficult. Like the moon, the space station is visible because it reflects the light of the Sun. And, naturally, viewing opportunities are best on clear nights.

A Vancouverite shared a video of the large spacecraft passing over Crab Park on social media.

The football field-sized space station serves as a testbed for technologies and supports NASA’s mission to push human presence farther into space. Learn more about station updates and research.

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