My question is, how many times each year do the crew of the ISS have an opportunity to celebrate New Year? Does it vary each year or will it be a fixed number?

I tried to work this out for myself and my brain just went bang, so if anyone out there with more of a maths head could answer this for my I'd be very grateful.

P.S. Sorry if this question is on the wrong website.


closed as unclear what you're asking by Raskolnikov, JamalS, Kyle Kanos, Danu, ACuriousMind Dec 24 '14 at 14:00

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    $\begingroup$ Just once. The ISS uses UTC, so they are launching the fireworks at the same time as London, I suppose. space.stackexchange.com/q/312 $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Dec 24 '14 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ Ok. How about if I rephrase the question to "how many different time zones does the ISS fly over as they celebrate new year?" Is the answer still one? $\endgroup$ – Jake Stanger Dec 24 '14 at 10:58
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    $\begingroup$ How long are they partying? Seriously, I don't think you can find a useful question in this topic. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Dec 24 '14 at 11:22
  • $\begingroup$ Ok I see what you mean. I'd say 10 minutes is a good celebration time, but now I can see what you mean about this being a fairly rubbish question :/ $\endgroup$ – Jake Stanger Dec 24 '14 at 12:29
  • $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is about parties on the ISS, and not physics. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Dec 24 '14 at 14:00

The ISS travels from West to East (with an inclined orbit). That means it crosses the international date line 15 times per 24 hour period, with time "going backwards" as they do so. This also means they must cross "midnight of the New Year" that many times. Although - since the orbit is 15.5 revolutions per 24 hours it's possible that they sneak in a 16th glass of champagne.

Although as said above, they only celebrate it at UTC.

If you want to know where the ISS is at any moment in time, you can go to http://www.isstracker.com/ . You could watch that site for 24 hours around New Year's eve and get the definitive answer.


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