Heavens Above LogoNew

For those of us that are space nuts, the Heavens-Above website lets you look up when the International Space Station, ISS, will fly over and be visible in the night sky as the sun illuminates the space station.  If you would like to view this it is quite easy, just 3 simple steps.


Step 1 is to set your location and that is as easy as filling in your Zip Code at this link and pressing the Search button and then the Update button at the bottom of the page.


Step 2 is to select the ISS menu and look at the ISS Visible Pass list.  Note; not every day has a visible pass and they only show 10 days worth of passes.  You want to pick days where the Brightest Magnitude with a -2.0 or lower, (more negative number).  

Step 3 is to select the Date and wait for the ISS - Pass Detail map to load.  Note; this map is for your zip code so if you share this info with folks far away they need to enter their zip code and get their own map.  Also, note that this map is meant to be held over your head as you look up into the sky.  Make sure you have the North end of the map pointed in the right direction and use the stars, constellations, and planets to help orientate yourself to the night sky.  The map gives Time Ticks on where the ISS will be and which constellations and planets will be visible as it passes.  You can use those to help you find it.  The ISS is huge and will look like a bright star/planet moving across the sky much like a plane but without blinking lights.  The only light you will see is the reflection from the sun which is how we see the moon and our closest planets.

For those of us in the Austin area, we have a chance to see the ISS and a Soyuz space ship on October 20th.  The Soyuz rocket took off on Wednesday with a scheduled docking on Friday morning at 5:59 AM.  With luck, the Thursday night sky will be clear and we can view the Space Station as it passes and then 5 minutes later we can view the Soyuz spacecraft as it races to catch up with the Space Station.  The path for the 2 space vehicles will be the same as the Soyuz spacecraft closes in on the Space Station.

This is a great adventure for the whole family/neighborhood, so make plans to take your children, grandchildren, friends, family, and neighbors outside for a science adventure they are not likely to forget.