To see or not to see Shenzhou X

Updated: 2013-06-14 08:12

By Cheng Yingqi (China Daily)

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Astronomy lovers may not get a good view of Shenzhou X as it flies over Beijing in the coming few days since the spacecraft is due to make its rounds during daylight, but there may still be a chance to catch a glimpse.

Although the spacecraft will circle Earth 16 times a day in the coming 10 days, its flight over Beijing will occur during daytime, which means it will be hard to observe with the naked eye, said Zhu Jin, president of Beijing Planetarium, denying reports that Shenzhou X is scheduled to fly over the city at night.

However, he reminded observers to pay close attention to the spacecraft's changing orbit.

"As Shenzhou X conducts the space dockings with the Tiangong-1 space module, its orbit changes and so does its time of flight over Beijing," Zhu said.

On Thursday, the spacecraft completed an automated docking with the Tiangong-1 space module and will manually undock in the coming days.

Zhu recommended two websites astronomy lovers can check for an updated timetable of Shenzhou X in orbit - or

In addition to the timetable, the websites also calculate the time the spacecraft will fly overhead when a geographical location is entered.

(China Daily USA 06/14/2013 page3)