Santa had a great time testing his sleigh and trusty reindeer on Tuesday so he’s decided to do it again.
Teaming up with the International Space Station he’s going to give kids one more chance to see him before his big Christmas Day present run.
For those who don’t already know, the ISS will fly over the UK tonight at around 5:09pm. Santa uses the same path as ISS so kids can easily spot him.
As with his test on Tuesday he’ll be looking out for kids waving and promises to wave back – although he’s a bit far away for the little ones to be able to see that.
It’s also a great chance to tell your kids about the ISS and how it orbits above us at 200 miles high and moves at 17,500mph. How does Santa keep up? Well, that’s just the magic of Christmas.
What are the exact times to see Santa flyby?
Santa will appear to the west at 5:05 tonight, December 13. He will reach his highest point in the sky at 5:07 and will disappear again at 5:11pm in the south east.
Is the weather good enough to see Santa tonight?
Yes, we’re lucky to have clear nights across most of the UK tonight so if you’re looking the right direction then you should be able to see Santa and ISS quite easily.
How to find Santa (and ISS)
The ISS orbit is nice and predictable and it takes the space station several minutes to cross the sky, so there’s a good chance you’ll spot it and Santa on their run tonight.
The easiest way is to grab an app for your phone. ISS Spotter or ISS Detector on iPhone. On Android you can also use ISS Detector to find the space station and Santa.
How to tell if you’re looking at Santa’s sleigh
When Santa passes he’s actually pretty easy to spot. The orbit will determine how high in the sky he appears. Tonight’s pass should be high enough for most people to see it with ease.
People who live in built-up areas may find certain passes are too low to see over surrounding homes. But if you’re out in the country a low pass probably won’t be a problem.
The best way to see the flyby is to grab one of the apps mentioned above to work out where the ISS and Santa will appear, if you’re looking the right direction you should easily be able to see them.
Tonight he will first appear in the west and will disappear to the south east.
Santa and ISS have a distinct look. They move quickly, like an aeroplane, but don’t have blinking lights. Unlike a star they don’t shimmer and unlike both stars and planets they move across the sky quite quickly.
Will Santa be visible again before Christmas?
Kind of, yes. Santa’s main sleigh tests are tonight and Tuesday December 11 but he also does one more trial run.
On Saturday December 15 he’ll do a low pass at 4:58pm. He’ll be visible at 11 degrees over the horizon until about 5:03pm.
As this is his last test of 2018 he’ll be a little bit less visible than his other two passes.
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