Spotting the International Space Station

Yes, you can watch the International Space Station fly over your house!

***WARNING[1] ***
March 2022 was a busy month in space that saw two spacewalks, the arrival of three new cosmonauts, and finally the departure of three crewmates officially ending Expedition 66. Three NASA astronauts and one ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut took a well-deserved break following the intense period aboard the orbiting lab.

The International Space Station (ISS) took 10 years and more than 30 missions to assemble. It is the result of unprecedented scientific and engineering collaboration among five space agencies representing 15 countries. The space station is approximately the size of a football field: a 460-ton, permanently crewed platform orbiting 250 miles above Earth. It is about four times as large as the Russian space station Mir and five times as large as the U.S. Skylab. On November 2, 2000, NASA Astronaut Bill Shepherd and cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev became the first crew to reside onboard the station. Expedition 1 spent four months onboard completing tasks necessary to bring the ISS “to life” and began what is now more than 20 years of continuous human presence in space.

Watch the International Space Station pass overhead from several thousand worldwide locations. It is the third brightest object in the sky and easy to spot if you know when to look up. Visible to the naked eye, it looks like a fast-moving plane only much higher and traveling thousands of miles an hour faster!

Clicking on the Spot the Station link will give you the Time, Time Period Visible, Max Height, Location in the sky where it will appear, and the Disappearing location in the sky.

  • Time is when the sighting opportunity will begin in your local time zone. All sightings will occur within a few hours before or after sunrise or sunset. This is the optimum viewing period as the sun reflects off the space station and contrasts against the darker sky.
  • Visible is the maximum time period the space station is visible before crossing back below the horizon.
  •  Max Height is measured in degrees (also known as elevation). It represents the height of the space station from the horizon in the night sky. The horizon is at zero degrees, and directly overhead is ninety degrees. If you hold your fist at arm’s length and place your fist resting on the horizon, the top will be about 10 degrees.
  • Appears is the location in the sky where the station will be visible first. This value, like maximum height, also is measured in degrees from the horizon. The letters represent compass directions — N is north, WNW is west by northwest, and so on.
  •  Disappears represents where in the night sky the International Space Station will leave your field of view.

This beautiful photo was taken by my friend Burley Roberts Thursday, March 17, 2022, at approximately 8:20 pm. He took it in Hickory Flat, Georgia which is an unincorporated community in southeastern Cherokee County, Georgia. It was posted on Facebook.



Footnotes
  • Warning to Flat Earthers. The contents here will be proof that the Earth is not flat. Clicking “read more” is at your own risk.

Sources

NASA: Spot the Station
NASA.gov
ISS National Laboratory




Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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