With Christmas fast approaching, children across the globe will be turning their heads toward the skies in the hopes of spotting Santa and his sleigh.
And it seems this year parents can help to keep the magic alive by showing their children ‘proof’ of Father Christmas’ annual flight.
The International Space Station is scheduled to pass over the UK at around 4:40pm GMT (11:40am ET) on tomorrow, and will appear as a bright streak in the night sky.
The station, which orbits 200 miles (320 km) above Earth, is also scheduled to pass over parts of the US at around 5:00pm ET (10:00pm GMT) today, according to Nasa.
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The ISS is scheduled to fly over the UK on December 19, and will appear as a bright streak in the night sky. The station is also scheduled to pass over parts of the US at around 5:00pm ET (10:00pm GMT) today, according to Nasa. It is pictured here flying over Burstow in 2015
HOW TO SPOT ‘SANTA’
In the UK, the best time to look out for ‘Santa’ will be on December 19 between 4:39pm and 4:41pm GMT, as he passes from southwest to southeast low in the sky.
And in the US, keep an eye out for the ISS tonight at around 5:00pm ET, when it will pass from southwest to southeast.
US sky-gazers will also be treated to a showing on Christmas Eve, scheduled for 6:30 am ET (11:30 am GMT), according to Nasa.
The station will shift from south to southeast on the night sky.
Because of its size, the ISS reflects a large amount of sunlight, making it easy to spot with the naked eye.
Parents who catch the International Space Station’s (ISS) orbit can take their children outside, point upwards and show them ‘Santa’ passing through the sky on a ‘practise run’.
For sky-gazers in the UK, tomorrow’s ‘Santa’ appearance, which will peak at around 4:40pm GMT (11:40am ET), is the last chance to spot the ISS before Christmas.
According to MeteorWatch, the ISS will appear ‘faint in the sky, very low pass, rises over horizon from south-west at 4.39pm and sets in south-east at 4.41pm.’
Those in the US will be treated to a showing today as well as one on Christmas Eve, scheduled for around 6:30 am ET (11:30 am GMT), according to Nasa.
Other parts of the country could see a ‘Santa streak’ on Christmas Day and on Boxing Day, the agency said.
Nasa said: ‘All sightings will occur within a few hours before or after sunrise or sunset.
‘This is the optimum viewing period as the sun reflects off the space station and contrasts against the darker sky.’
According to amateur astronomer VirtualAstro, who specialises in ISS sightings, the best way to spot the station is to check what direction it will rise from.
They tweeted: ‘When the ISS passes over it will appear as an incredibly bright star like object or plane without flashing lights moving across the sky, it can be at times the brightest object in the night sky second to the moon.
Those in the US will be treated to a showing today as well as one on Christmas Eve, scheduled for around 6:30 am ET (11:30 am GMT), according to Nasa. Because of its size, the ISS (file photo) reflects a large amount of sunlight, making it easy to spot with the naked eye
Parents may be able to keep the magic alive this year by showing their children proof of Father Christmas in action (stock image)
‘As the station rises (from a westerly direction) it usually gets brighter but can be a challenge to spot at first. Make sure you have checked where it will rise from.’
To make sure you don’t miss the sight, you can use Nasa’s Spot the Station tool to find out when you’ll be able to spot the ISS, based on the location of your nearest town or city.
Another way to make sure you keep track of Father Christmas is Google’s Santa Tracker – an interactive and educational site.
The space station looks like an airplane or a very bright star moving across the sky, except it doesn’t have flashing lights or change direction. Here it is pictured passing over Ratcliffe
All sightings will occur within a few hours before or after sunrise or sunset, as this is the optimum viewing period as the sun reflects off the space station and contrasts against the darker sky. Pictured is the ISS flying over Iran