Find the ISS
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.