How to see the Chinese space station's fall to Earth

The station is expected to fall near Easter

China's space laboratory, Tiangong-1, is expected to fall to Earth on Easter weekend according to Space.com.

The spacecraft has been in orbit since 2011, but China lost contact with it in early 2016.

Now, Tiangong-1 is circling the Earth about every 88 minutes at an average altitude of 134 miles. This is about half the altitude of the International Space Station.

Tiangong-1 is said to fall to Earth anywhere between latitudes 42.7 degrees north and 42.7 degrees south. This covers an area that includes about 80 percent of the United States, southern sections of Europe in Spain, Italy and Greece, China and Japan and areas in the southern hemisphere such as Chile, Argentina, Southern Australia and New Zealand. 

To see if the station will be visible to you, you can go to the Heavens Above Website for a sighting schedule in your location. 

Once on the website, you must register and enter your location. On the home page under "Satellites" is "10-Day Predictions for Satellites of Special Interest." Tiangong-1 is the second on that list below the ISS. 

The website also has a feature of a sky map that shows Tiangong-1's path among the background stars. 

The station is expected to experience rapid changes in its brightness while falling, ranging anywhere from the third magnitude to zero, or as bright as the brightest stars. 

It should take less than 30 minutes for Tiangong-1 to fall to Earth with damages beginning at around 70 miles above Earth's surface when the solar panel "wings" are expected to break off.

Around 40-50 miles above the surface, the entire vehicle will become engulfed in flames and large chunks of the station will begin breaking off into smaller fragments.

Lastly, at 10 miles up the falling fragments will lose their forward velocity and plummet to Earth.

To see time and location that Tiangong-1 will come down check Satflare.com.

Most recent ground tracking of Tiangong-1 is available at N2YO.com.

 

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