International Space Station Viewing

by Fraser Cain on October 2, 2009

The ISS. Credit: NASA

The ISS. Credit: NASA


Now that it’s mostly complete, the International Space Station is the brightest human-built object in space. It’s easy to see with your own eyes, the trick is knowing when to step outside and look up to see the station go overhead. If you do get your timing right, you’ll see the station as a bright star moving quickly in the sky. It only take a couple of minutes to pass through the sky above your house. Want to see the station for yourself? Here are some resources for International Space Station viewing.

The best place to go is NASA’s Human Spaceflight tracking page. This shows you the current location of the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, and any space shuttles currently in orbit.

So that shows you where the space station and shuttles are right now, but how will you know when they’re going to be passing over your part of the Earth?

NASA has a page for sighting opportunities. You can either choose your location from a list of common locations around the world, or you download an application that lets you pick your specific spot on Earth. It will then tell you the exact times ISS will be passing overhead.

If you’ve got an iPhone, check out the ISS Visibility App. This tool will calculate the next times you’ll be able to see the ISS pass overhead.

You can also use a great service called Heavens Above. This will also show you the current location of satellites, as give you times when ISS will be passing overhead.

We have written many articles about the International Space Station for Universe Today. Here’s an article about how ISS is now visible in the daytime.

We have recorded an episode of Astronomy Cast about the space shuttle. Listen to it here, Episode 127: The US Space Shuttle.

About 

Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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