Look Up! You Could Spot Santa in the Sky Tonight, Courtesy of the International Space Station

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iStock

If answered letters and eaten cookies aren’t enough evidence for the kids in your life that Santa exists, try taking them outside tonight to scan the sky for Santa’s sleigh. No, he won’t actually show up, but a convincing alternative—the International Space Station (ISS)—will, according to IFLScience.

The ISS flies almost 250 miles above Earth, and each of its multiple daily orbits occur over different parts of the planet. On December 19, the ISS hurtled over the UK and was visible for a three-minute flash between 4:39 p.m. and 4:41 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time.

But Americans, too, can enjoy a festive flyover, as the ISS will travel over the southwest and southeast U.S. around 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, right as the sky’s growing dark. Can’t squeeze today’s Santa sighting into your busy schedule? The ISS will fly over the U.S. again on Christmas Eve morning, around 6:30 a.m. EST. (To plan accordingly, use NASA’s Spot the Station tool to track the ISS’s journey.)

The ISS isn’t exactly an old-fashioned sleigh, but from a distance it appears as a steady bright light approaching from the west. Blink, and you’ll probably miss it (the ISS orbits at a staggering 17,500 miles per hour), so keep your eyes peeled towards the sky to spot “Santa” as he makes his annual round-the-world journey.

[IFL Science]

This Outdoor Lantern Will Keep Mosquitoes Away—No Bug Spray Necessary

Thermacell, Amazon
Thermacell, Amazon

With summer comes outdoor activities, and with those activities come mosquito bites. If you're one of the unlucky people who seem to attract the insects, you may be tempted to lock yourself inside for the rest of the season. But you don't have to choose between comfort and having a cocktail on the porch, because this lamp from Thermacell ($25) keeps outdoor spaces mosquito-free without the mess of bug spray.

The device looks like an ordinary lantern you would display on a patio, but it works like bug repellent. When it's turned on, a fuel cartridge in the center provides the heat needed to activate a repellent mat on top of the lamp. Once activated, the repellent in the mat creates a 15-by-15-foot bubble of protection that repels any mosquitos nearby, making it a great option for camping trips, days by the pool, and backyard barbecues.

Mosquito repellent lantern.

Unlike some other mosquito repellents, this lantern is clean, safe, and scent-free. It also provides light like a real lamp, so you can keep pests away without ruining your backyard's ambience.

The Thermacell mosquito repellent lantern is now available on Amazon. If you've already suffered your first mosquito bites of the summer, here's some insight into why that itch can be so excruciating.

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Happy Canada Day! What Exactly Is Canada Day?

bluejayphoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus
bluejayphoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Happy Canada Day! On July 1, 1867, the nation was officially born when the Constitution Act joined three provinces into one country: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canada province, which then split into Ontario and Quebec. However, Canada was not completely independent of England until 1982.

The holiday called Dominion Day was officially established in 1879, but it wasn't observed by many Canadians, who considered themselves to be British citizens. Dominion Day started to catch on when the 50th anniversary of the confederation rolled around in 1917. In 1946, a bill was put forth to rename Dominion Day, but arguments in the House of Commons over what to call the holiday stalled the bill.

The 100th anniversary of the nation's official creation in 1967 saw the growth of the spirit of Canadian patriotism, and Dominion Day celebrations really began to take off. Although quite a few Canadians already called the holiday Canada Day (or Fête du Canada), the new name wasn't formally adopted until October of 1982.

How to celebrate Canada Day

There are many ways to celebrate Canada Day. First: What's a patriotic celebration without a parade? Typically, parades are held in cities, towns, and villages all over Canada (though many of this year's event will be virtual, due to the coronavirus pandemic). The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have an established group called the RCMP Musical Ride. These 32 officers, who are rotated after three years' service, perform equestrian drills for the public throughout Canada.

Other Canada Day traditions that are gaining footholds are picnics, festivals, sporting events, and fireworks.

Many Canada Day events are planned all over the country, including Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, and Victoria (though, again, 2020 may look a bit different).

If you want to celebrate at home, why not belt out your own rendition of "O Canada"? You can find the lyrics here. And hear the French version as well.

This story has been updated for 2020.