PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After Space Shuttle Atlantis meets up with the International Space Station for the last time,  earthlings will be able to see history — under the right conditions — by just looking up.

The International Space Station flies over Philadelphia between four and seven times each day, according to Franklin Institute’s chief astronomer, Derrick Pitts.

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Pitts (in top photo) says there will be plenty of chances for you to  see the space shuttle during its last mission, without leaving home.

“There will be opportunities, either before sunrise or just after sunset, to see Space Shuttle with Space Station for the last time.   It’s an easy  observation,” he says, “no binoculars, no telescope needed.  Anybody can see it!”

Pitts says you should go to NASA’s web site and it will tell you when the spacecraft are overhead and in what direction you should look.

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Story continues below…

(A piece of the former dome of the Fels Planetarium, encased in plastic, being carried aboard the final space shuttle flight. Photo provided)


And, for this final mission, at the request of commander Chris Ferguson, a small piece of the Franklin Institute is on board the shuttle: a star-shaped piece of the original Fels Planetarium dome surface.   It will be returned to the Franklin Institute when it returns to Earth and incorporated into a display.

Reported by John McDevitt, KYW Newsradio 1060

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