Children's Books & Writing Stories Once upon a time...  Children's Books & Writing Stories Once upon a time...

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Good news if your kids are DESPERATE to see Santa this year. If they look up in the sky later this month, they just might see his sleigh flying overhead.


OK - it's not actually Santa's sleigh (our little secret).


Instead, the International Space Station (ISS) will be passing over the UK a few days before Christmas. It's the largest Space Station laboratory ever built and orbits the earth at 17,500mph.

Flying at an altitude of roughly 200 miles, as it reflects light from the sun it looks like a bright light (or indeed Santa's sleigh) as it cruises past.


So why not pretend to your kids that it's Father Christmas on a practice run before his big night delivering presents all round the world.


When will the ISS pass over the UK? You'll need to be quick to catch the fly past ...

The ISS will do a 'low pass' over the UK on 21 December between 5pm and 5.02pm, going from west to east.


If you want to see it higher up in the sky, there will be a 'medium altitude' pass from west to east on 19 December. Get your kids looking up at the sky between 5.07pm and 5.10pm.

There's also the chance to see Santa even earlier - the ISS will be doing another 'low pass' on 18 December between 6pm and 6.02pm.


Where can I see the ISS fly over?  As the UK is a relatively small country, we'll all be able to follow its progress at the same time. If you're elsewhere in the world, you can look up your location and sign up for alerts.


You can also check for more information on when the ISS will be passing overhead. On the website it advises, 'Spotting the station is very easy and you don't need any special equipment. You only need your eyes!'


And follow @VirtualAstro on Twitter who regularly posts about ISS positions over earth.

When I was a lad at school around 13 years old, our Maths teacher used to call me Wol. At the end of the year as we were moving up a class I plucked up courage to ask why he called me Wol. He told meit was thename of the deslexic owl in Winnie the Pooh. With my Harry Potter glasses he said I looked like the Wise Old Owl in the Winnie the Pooh stories.


Being the vain person I am I took it as a compliment

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