International Space Station viewing: No telescope required

Sandy Smith's picture

For the rest of this weekend, space junkies and the merely curious have a rare opportunity to view the International Space Station in the night sky. And the good news is, they won't need a telescope to see it.

Orbiting a mere 240 miles above the earth, the ISS is the largest space object visible to the naked eye at night. As it passes overhead, it may simply resemble an unusually bright star, or it may give off an orange or golden glow from the sunlight striking its solar power panels.

Tonight and tomorrow, the ISS will pass over much of the United States at night. The best way to view it, according to experts, is with the naked eye or binoculars.

How to find out when you can see the International Space Station in your area

When the International Space Station can be seen in the skies over your area varies. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has a website that allows you to look up when the ISS and other satellites can be seen.

NASA's Human Space Flight - Realtime Data page contains both a lookup table and an applet called SkyWatch that takes realtime data from NASA's Goddard Space Center and calculates projected flight paths of various space objects, including the ISS.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Space station passed over NE Iowa at about 8:15pm central time. It was traveling South West to North East approx 10 min viewing.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I seen the space station traveling from S E to N W in Altoona Pa @ 910 PM and seen it for approximately 5 min it was awesome

Submitted by Peeper (not verified) on
Near Hershey, PA, just watched the Space Station as it passed overhead for about 5 minutes. (Just in time.. the clouds are starting to roll in) Godspeed, I.S.S. crew !

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