Find the ISS

All About Space - - 15 Astronomy Tips -

12 Stargaz­ing doesn’t just have to be about look­ing deep into the galaxy and the uni­verse be­yond; it can also be about ob­serv­ing man-made ob­jects or­bit­ing our planet. Eas­ily the most im­pres­sive is the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion (ISS), which or­bits Earth 16 times each day and trav­els faster than a speed­ing bul­let around 402 kilo­me­tres (250 miles) up. If you want to see the ISS from where you are, con­sult NASA’s

spot­thes­ta­tion.nasa.gov web­site to get ex­act tim­ings. Tran­sits take around four min­utes, al­ways gen­er­ally from west to east, and al­ways in the few hours af­ter sun­set or be­fore sun­rise, when the Sun catches the ISS’ so­lar pan­els, which is what you ac­tu­ally see.

Since the ISS only takes 90 min­utes to or­bit the planet, if you do see it just af­ter dark there’s a good chance you’ll see it again 90 min­utes later fur­ther to the north in the night sky. Ei­ther way, the ISS is so bright and so im­pres­sive an ob­serv­ing tar­get that it will quickly be­come a sta­ple of your stargaz­ing.

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