Thread: Viewing the ISS
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Old August 7 2013, 04:36 AM   #2
RobertVA
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Location: Virginia USA
Re: Viewing the ISS

The reflection off those huge solar panels is pretty bright. If you can see any stars through the local light pollution you should be able to see the ISS. Magnitude is usually a negative value (very bright). It's nearly as bright as Venus. Viewing opportunities occur before sunrise or after sunset when the station, at its greater altitude, is still or already illuminated by sunlight. Watch for a rapidly moving bright pinpoint of light.

Link to a page that predicts viewing opportunities for the US and Canada (enter your zip or postal code):
http://www.spaceweather.com/flybys/

The site includes the direction to look and angle above the horizon. Some other orbiting objects are listed, but few if any approch the brighness of the ISS. Your location will probably not have viewing opportunities every evening or morning.

With the high inclination of the station's orbit its not unusual for Cape Canaveral nighttime supply launches to be visible from points near the mid-Atlantic coast of the US. I've already seen one Dragon Cargo launch from SE Virginia. After watching the liftoff on NASA TV I go out in the driveway and watch the rocket go by a few minutes later.
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