Spaceships visible in the UK today :) Independence Day on C4 tonight 6.40pm & an #ISS pass

Today’s a good day for spaceship fans. The 1996 blockbuster Independence Day is on Channel 4 at 6.40pm today with fantastic music by David Arnold who has described the film as one “with a lot of saluting in it” 🙂

Image showing scene from Independence Day

The bad guys total the White House

Independence Day, Channel 4, 6.40pm, Saturday 11 April

How Independence Day ends (the music) …

Picture taken at David Arnold’s Dublin concert in January – he’s doing another one this coming Tuesday in Manchester, at the Bridgewater Hall.

The film finishes at 9.20pm which gives you plenty of time to get a cup of tea and grab a warm coat before heading outside to look up. Between 9.34 and 9.39pm (and depending on cloud cover) you might be able to see the International Space Station (ISS) on one of its many flypasts (not all are visible, it has to be in the right position for sunlight to be reflected).

It’ll be heading in from the West and tonight’s pass will be overhead and incredibly bright, making it very easy to see even for beginners – just look up, it’s very visible with the naked eye. If you’ve not seen an ISS pass before you’re looking for an object that looks as bright as a star (it will probably look very bright tonight) but which moves in a constant direction, without blinking (you’re unlikely to mistake it for an aircraft).

The considerably more benign International Space Station

Above is what the ISS looked like in 2010, here’s how it looked in 1999.

The ISS was launched on 20 November 1998, only a couple of years after Independence Day was released, and it’s been up there ever since in Low Earth Orbit (about 240 miles away). And there are people on it! Astronaut crews visit every few months (they tend to stay on it for several months at a time, staggered, so that three new crew members join the six already there, the longest-serving three leave and so it stays at roughly six team members). The station has been expanded over the years with new additions (think of it as a sort of flatpack ‘space’ship with spare bits sent from Earth every now and again).

There are currently six people onboard (two crews of three people) – Expedition 43 (Soyuz TMA-15M): Anton Shkaplerov, Samantha Cristoforetti, Terry W. Virts and Expedition 43 (Soyuz TMA-16M): Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Korniyenko and Scott Kelly and you can follow the ones who tweet, and their amazing photography, on Twitter.

NASA also used David’s music from Stargate to wake up the astronauts on board the shuttle. What a lovely way to be woken 🙂

And here’s the full Stargate Suite recorded at David’s Royal Festival Hall concert in Summer 2014.

David Arnold’s concerts in 2015

Dublin | Manchester | London | Birmingham | Nottingham | Lucerne
22 Jan |     14 April     | 18 June |     26 June     |     28 June    | 23 October

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