Viewing the ISS

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Tom Hendricks, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Tom Hendricks

    Tom Hendricks Rey, a drop of golden sun Premium Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    Tom Hendricks
    I know this is going to sound dopey, but I'm so excited. I just got to see the International Space Station for the first time. It actually made me giddy as I watched it rise above the horizon in the South West situated between Saturn and Antares in the sky. I tracked it across as it disappeared, it seemed so close, like I could touch it.

    I signed up to get email updates as to when the ISS would be visible. When I lived down on Long Island, forget about it. With the light spill and all, I never got a chance. However up here in Syracuse where there is hardly any, the sky watching and use of a telescope is simply amazing. Now I want to upgrade my telescope to take advantage of it.
  2. RobertVA

    RobertVA Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 6, 2005
    Virginia USA
    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):

    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.
  3. Keeper

    Keeper Commodore Commodore

    Nov 16, 2007
    Land of Illusion
    I saw it Sunday evening, too. I had only just stepped outside for a few minutes of stargazing and there it was.
  4. PurpleBuddha

    PurpleBuddha Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Apr 14, 2003
    Very cool. What type of setup do you have?
  5. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 16, 2001
    NE Ohio
    Not at all, Last month it was over my area for a few night. Made both the kids come out and watch it go over heard. One of the nights it was almost right over head.
  6. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 25, 2011
    The Sunshine State
    I watch it every time it comes over and it never gets old.
  7. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

    Aug 22, 2002
    Terra Inlandia
    I don't know that they do email notifications, but input your info and, besides ISS flyover times for your location, this site will tell you when you'll be able to view a number of other orbiting and astronomical goodies: