Most Of The Eastern US Will Be Able To See A Rocket Launch Tonight -- Here's Where To Look

NASA’s Wallops Flight FacilityAntares at its launch pad on Oct. 27, 2014.

A rocket launch tonight should provide a spectacular view for residents throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern region of the US tonight.

Turn your eyes skywards this evening at around 6:45 pm EDT to watch the Antares rocket on its way to the International Space Station.

On Oct. 27, at 6:45 pm EDT, NASA is scheduled to launch their fourth Cygnus flight in history atop an Antares rocket, created by private space flight company Orbital Sciences Corporation.

Cygnus is an automated cargo spacecraft — meaning no passengers aboard. But it does provide the astronauts on the International Space Station with much needed tools.

This is the heaviest Cygnus launch yet — weighing in at a whopping 5,050 pounds. The launch is scheduled to take place at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia, and NASA will begin broadcasting the event, live at 5:45 pm EDT (2:45 pm PDT).

Below is a map of the regions that will be able to see, weather permitting, the rocket streak across the sky late this afternoon. The further you are from the launch site, the longer it will take for the rocket to become visible in the sky (that’s the T plus seconds timing). For example, the outer pink ring will see the rocket 3.5 minutes after it lifts off:

Nasa cygnus launch NASA/Wallops Mission Planning LabMap of where and when the rocket will come into view.

Depending on where you are, will greatly affect the shape of the arc the rocket will make across the sky. For observers in Baltimore, MD, the rocket will be highest in the sky about 235 seconds after launch, or at about 6:49 pm EDT.

Orbital Sciences Corp.Rocket viewing from Fells Point Water Taxi Terminal in Baltimore, MD.

If you’re in DC, look to the Jefferson Memorial. The rocket will first come into view about 96 seconds after launch.

If you’re in New Jersey, look toward New York City. You should see the rocket pass right over the Empire State Building about 235 seconds after launch, or at about 6:49 p.m. EDT.

And if you’re in Wallops Island, Virginia, the city where the launching site is located, you’ll be able to see, in addition to the rocket, the ISS on the northwest horizon at 6:49 pm EDT.

These launches can be incredibly beautiful. Here’s an image of a launch from last year, of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer lander:

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