China’s new space station can now be seen in the night sky from Earth.
Although it’s the tumbling booster rocket from its launch that grabbed all the headlines—and is set to crash on Sunday, May 9—what’s been missed is that “Tianhe-1” is safely in orbit and now visible from Earth at night.
Set to become a fixture of the night sky, this first module of China’s new space station has already been seen from Middle America this past week, reports SpaceWeather.com.
“Tianhe” means “harmony of the heavens.” This Tianhe Core Module1—which is about 55 ft./17 meters long—was launched from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the island of Hainan, China, on April 29, 2021 on top of a Long March 5B rocket.
The 21-metric-ton rocket booster that launched it is now out of control and is predicted to fall to Earth over this weekend; most fragments should burn-up, the rest are expected to hit the ocean or remote areas. It’s already been photographed.
However, the bigger story for stargazers is that Tianhe-1 is becoming visible in the night sky—and that includes from your backyard.
Although it’s not as bright as the International Space Station (ISS), Heavens-Above.com now has a special page listing predicted sightings of Tianhe-1 under “satellites” on its home page.
The website is dedicated to helping people watch naked-eye as satellites orbit Earth.
It also gives predictions regarding SpaceX Starlink satellites, a batch of 60 of which were launched on May 4, 2021 and are now relatively easy to se as “satellite trains” as they raise their orbit.
The first module of what will be the Chinese Space Station (CSS), Tianhe is now in orbit about 230 miles/370 km up.
It’s expected to receive its first “taikonauts”—Chinese astronauts—this summer to become the second crewed space station in orbit in addition to the ISS.
More modules are set to launch next year as the China National Space Administration (CNSA) bolsters its space station.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.
This Article firstly Publish on www.forbes.com