International Space Station spotted in the sky over Britain on Christmas Eve

The shining object appeared in the sky above southern England about 5.22pm

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The Independent Online

Residents of southern England will be forgiven for thinking that Santa was making his annual rounds early this year, when the International Space Station appeared as a sparkling dot in sky on Christmas Eve.

Southerners enjoyed the best view of the man-made satellite, which looks like a small ball of light moving across the sky when viewed from earth.

It crossed the sky at about 5.20pm and was visible for about three minutes.

In London, people were advised to look at 35 degrees from the horizon and look to the west, and people further north at a slightly lower angle.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: “The space station will be passing over – and it might look like santa’s sleigh.”

Twitter was quickly flooded with images of the passing space station, including a festive snap posted by astronaut Sam Cristoforetti from inside the craft itself.

 

The platform looks very different close up, with six astronauts currently on board performing experiments in zero gravity as part of its 42nd crew rotation.

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A portion of the International Space Station and the docked space shuttle Endeavour is featured in this image photographed by a spacewalker

It is made up of a series of interconnected modules for habitation and banks of solar panels for power.

The space station is maintained by a number of countries including the European Space Agency, NASA, and the Russian Federal Space Agency.

The station's crew reportedly took delivery of tins of caviar last month, which will be consumed as a New Year feast.

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The path of The International Space Station (top straight line) is seen from central London on Christmas Eve. The trail of an aircraft on its way to Heathrow is seen below

The station was in danger of running into supply shortages in late October after a resupply mission attempt by a private company went disastrously wrong when an unmanned rocket exploded on lift off.

A later resupply attempt was ultimately successful.

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