An out-of-control Chinese space station is getting closer to crashing into Earth.

The European Space Agency (ESA) predict that Tiangong-1 will tumble back to our planet at some point between March 30 and April 2.

When the station, which is carrying highly toxic chemicals, does eventually enter the atmosphere it could unleash a 'series of fireballs' that will be seen by observers, the Daily Mail reported.

Amateur astronomers are now training their telescopes on Tiangong-1 to catch a glimpse of the doomed satellite.

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At the Fraunhofer Institute scientists can track Tiangong-1 using radar (pictured). Photo / Supplied
At the Fraunhofer Institute scientists can track Tiangong-1 using radar (pictured). Photo / Supplied

You can join the viewing via a live stream from the Virtual Telescope Project.

Daily updates on ESA's website are currently tracking the space stations gradual descent.

It currently sits at an altitude of around 200km.

Due to its gentle descent, Tiangong-1 is now experiencing significant drag as it brushes against the planet's denser outer atmosphere and it is dropping out of orbit by about 2.5 miles a day.

When Tiangong-1 reaches an altitude of about 43 miles above the surface, it will begin its fiery re-entry.

When it reaches this point, Markus Dolensky, of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, told CNN that observers on Earth will potentially see "a series of fireballs streaking across the sky".

"It is now nearing its fiery demise," he added.

This will only happen if conditions are clear, however.

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The dramatic reentry will be unmissable, but keen astronomers are keeping their eyes peeled for the passing of Tiangong-1 throughout its final days.

It is visible to the naked eye and can be seen by people living in mid-latitude areas in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.

Like many satellites and the ISS, Tiangong-1 looks like an unblinking white light gliding swiftly across the sky.

People in China use smartphones to take photos of cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1. The Tianzhou-1 docked with space laboratory Tiangong-2 to provide fuel and other supplies. Photo / Getty Images
People in China use smartphones to take photos of cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1. The Tianzhou-1 docked with space laboratory Tiangong-2 to provide fuel and other supplies. Photo / Getty Images

For those not in the correct regions to see the passage of the satellite, a live stream has been set up to allow amateurs to see the final passages of the Chinese space station as it passes overhead.

Predicting when and where the rogue station will reach the surface is extremely difficult as it orbits the Earth at around 18,000 mph (29,000km/h).

To track the satellite, experts are using some of the most advanced and powerful telescopes in the world.

At the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques, scientists were recently able to capture images of the craft using radar imaging.

Commissioned by the ESA, Fraunhofer researchers are studying the speed of the satellite and its rotation.

The tracking and imaging radar system uses signals in the Ku-band (12 to 18 gigahertz) and I-band (100 – 150 megahertz) radio frequencies to follow Tiangong-1.

Radar allows the institute to watch the station regardless of the weather, or if it is day or night.

ESA claim that its estimate for reentry is still "highly variable" and that a precise time and place will only be known around 24 hours before landing.

In a statement, the space agency said: 'The Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up.

"It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface."

According to experts tracking the station at the European Space Agency (ESA), it has the highest chance of crashing along a narrow strip around latitudes of 43 degrees north and south.

This includes a number of highly populated cities including New York, Barcelona, Beijing, Chicago, Istanbul, Rome and Toronto.

There is a chance parts of the station containing hazardous hydrazine could plummet into these highly-populated area.

Hydrazine is a chemical which is included in rocket fuel that causes irritation of the eyes and throat, dizziness and can lead to the growth of cancerous tumours.

The chances of human injury are small, claims Stijn Lemmens, an ESA space debris expert based in Darmstadt, Germany.

"Over the past 60 years of space flight, we are nearing the mark of 6,000 uncontrolled reentries of large objects, mostly satellites and upper (rocket) stages," he told AFP.

"Only one event actually produced a fragment which hit a person, and it did not result in injury."

Mr Lemmens says the odds of being struck by space debris at one in 1.2 trillion.

That is roughly 10 million times less likely than getting hit by lightning.

Agencies around the world who have monitored an out-of-control Chinese space station's fall to Earth believe it has a higher chance of hitting parts of the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Agencies around the world who have monitored an out-of-control Chinese space station's fall to Earth believe it has a higher chance of hitting parts of the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Although nobody has ever died from being hit by space junk falling back to Earth, one Australian region did fine Nasa $400 for littering when its Skylab crashed around the town of Esperence in 1974.

"At no time will a precise time/location prediction from ESA be possible," the agency's Space Debris Office, based in Darmstadt, Germany, said in a previous statement.

ESA say that the forecast was updated approximately weekly through to mid-March, and is now being updated every 1-2 days.

The doomed 8.5-tonne craft has been hurtling towards Earth since Chinese scientists lost control of it in 2016.

After completing its final life phase, the space craft became unresponsive.

The descent is difficult to predict as the conditions in space are widely unknown and unpredictable.

The orbit pattern of Tiangong-1 is also making predictions more complex.

Explaining why, Dr Hugh Lewis, senior lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southampton, compared the geometrical processes at work to crossing the road.

Speaking to MailOnline, he said: "The spacecraft is travelling around a more or less circular orbit, which is tipped with respect to the equator at 43°.

"If you plot this path on a map of the Earth, it produces a sine wave pattern, with the slower curve of the wave in northern and southern latitudes and the faster straighter sections running from east to west.

"If you imagine the green low risk area on the map is the part of the road we're trying to walk across, the quickest way is to go at 90 degrees – straight across.

"When the spacecraft crosses the equator, it's crossing the road at this point, and it does so really fast.

"When it goes across the red bands further north and south, it's crossing at a steeper angle - almost parallel to the road.

"It takes longer to cross at these latitudes, which is why it has a higher risk of coming down here."

WHAT IS THE TIANGONG-1 SPACE STATION?

Tiangong-1 is China's first Space Station Module.

The vehicle was the nation's first step towards its ultimate goal of developing, building, and operating a large Space Station as a permanent human presence in Low Earth Orbit.

The module was launched on September 29, 2012.

Image shows a 1:1 prototype of the China-made unmanned space module Tiangong-1. Photo / Getty Images
Image shows a 1:1 prototype of the China-made unmanned space module Tiangong-1. Photo / Getty Images

Tiangong-1 features flight-proven components of Chinese Shenzhou Spacecraft as well as new technology.

The module consists of three sections: the aft service module, a transition section and the habitable orbital module.

The vehicle is 10.4 metres long and has a main diameter of 3.35 metres.

It has a liftoff mass of 8506 kilograms and provides 15 cubic metres of pressurized volume.

WHAT IS THE 'HIGHLY TOXIC' CHEMICAL ONBOARD CHINA'S TIANGONG-1 SPACE STATION?

A "highly-toxic" corrosive chemical could land on Earth when parts of an out-of-control Chinese space station crash into our planet.

The chemical, called hydrazine, is used in rocket fuel and long-term exposure is believed to cause cancer in humans.

It is being carried aboard the Tiangong-1 space station which is hurtling towards Earth.

The warning over exposure to the chemical came from Aerospace Corp, a non-profit corporation based in El Segundo, California, which provides technical guidance and advice on all aspects of space missions.

Hydrazine is a colourless, oily liquid or sometimes white crystalline compound with a very highly reactive base.

It has a number of industrial, agricultural and military uses, including in rocket fuel.

Symptoms of short-term exposure to high levels of hydrazine include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, headache, nausea, pulmonary edema, seizures, and coma, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Long-term exposure can also damage the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system in humans.

The liquid is corrosive and may produce dermatitis from skin contact in humans and animals.

Increased incidences of lung, nasal cavity, and liver tumours have been observed in rodents exposed to hydrazine.

The EPA has classified hydrazine as a Group B2, a probable human carcinogen.

WHICH CITIES LIE IN THE TIANGONG-1 'DANGER ZONE'?

Name of city, Country

Barcelona, Spain

Milwaukee, USA

Beijing, China

Monaco, Monaco

Bilbao, Spain

Naples, Italy

Boise, USA

New York, USA

Boston, USA

Nice, France

Boulder, USA

Philadelphia, USA

Buffalo, USA

Pittsburgh, USA

Cannes, France

Punta Arenas, Chile

Chicago, USA

Rochester, USA

Christchurch, New Zealand

Rome, Italy

Cleveland, USA

Salt Lake City, USA

Concord, USA

San Sebastian, Spain

Des Moines, USA

Sapporo, Japan

Detroit, USA

Sioux Falls, USA

Florence, Italy

Sochi, Russia

Istanbul, Turkey

Stanley, Falkland Islands

Kushiro, Japan

Toronto, Canada

Madrid, Spain

Trelew, Argentina

Marseilles, France

Valladolid, Spain