Instead of doing what I normally do of posting with very little notice, I'm going to give some notice as these shuttle and space station flyovers seem pretty popular to readers of my blog.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to launch on the 6th of December, it'll be on a mission to the International Space Station carrying Europe's Columbus laboratory to the station.

Like Endeavour's last mission back in August it will be visible from the UK in the evenings. By the 10th of December it'll make two passes each evening, and that will continue for about a week.

The shuttle typically takes a couple of days to catch up with and dock with the space station. The last time we didn't get to see them close together before docking, they were separated by several minutes.

If I'm feeling energetic enough, and we have the chance to see the two maybe a few hundred metres apart I'll try and take a few more images, the same way as I did with Endeavour.

Exact times for the space station can be found by using Heavens Above, the space shuttle will be posted around or just after launch, but as the shuttle is changing orbit so the data can be off by a wide margin.

The advantage with this launch being winter is you can take your kids out to see it as it gets dark earlier. The Sun has to be just at the right position to see satellites, it needs to be below the horizon for us so the sky is dark, but still above the horizon a few hundred kilometres up or more so it can illuminate whatever we're trying to look at. Which is why the visibility is always a just before sunrise or just after sunset.