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