The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Great Time to See the International Space Station

The next few days have an unusually large number of passes of the International Space Station.  Every now and again, its orbit lines up with Earth’s terminator (the line between day and night).  When this happens, every pass of the ISS is visible because it is always in sunlight!  Usually, you get one pass per night, maybe two if you are really lucky.  Some places are getting up to five passes a night!

For beginners, go to Heavens Above to find when the ISS will be visible.  You can find your location from the database, select it by clicking on a map or typing in your GPS coordinates.  You can then click the ISS link to see when it is visible.  Remember that lower numbers mean a brighter pass (a -3 pass is very bright, a -1 pass is not as bright but still impressive).

The ISS will appear as a very steady light moving across the sky.  Be sure to sync your watch to the official time before you go out.  Heavens Above gives you the direction to look and the time.  Enjoy!

June 25, 2010 - Posted by | Observing

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