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  1. See International Space Station From Earth
  2. See International Space Station Tonight
  3. International Space Station Tracker
  1. Because ISS consists of solar panels that reflect sun light and ISS becomes too bright to see any details of the station. Magnification 15x. When it comes to binoculars 15×60 or 15×70 it’s difficult to see parts of the station’s body. Sometimes depending on the brightness of the object (ISS) you can see rectangular shape of the station without seeing other details.
  2. The trio departed the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft at 9:34 p.m. NASA Weekly ISS Space to Ground Report for 16 April, 2021.
  3. The International Space Station orbits 248 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth, and can be seen from the ground using a new interactive map called Spot the Station. (Image credit: NASA).
  4. Interestingly, the International Space Station can be seen with the naked eye. Can the ISS Be Seen with the Naked Eye? The ISS is seen as a slow-moving large white dot that passes quickly across the sky without changing its direction. The space station is visible to the naked eye right before sunrise and some few hours after sunset.

The International Space Station is the largest man-made satellite orbiting Earth.

May 30, 2020 The International Space Station (ISS) has been orbiting our planet since 1998. From most locations on Earth, assuming you have clear night skies, you can see ISS for yourself.

Spanning the length of a football field, it has astronauts living and working on board. On certain nights, you can spot the station as it streams overhead at 17,500 mph — if you know where and when to look.

The station will pass over Arizona on Sunday evening, May 16. It will:

  • appear in the southwest at 7:57 p.m.
  • disappear in the northeast.
  • be visible for about seven minutes.

To see it, look for a bright dot moving steadily through the sky. One way to make sure you don't miss it: Set a reminder alarm on your phone five minutes before and another alarm at the exact minute the space station is expected to appear in the sky.

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley returned from the station on Aug. 2, after making history on May 30 by becoming the first astronauts launched to the space station by a private company, SpaceX. They returned to Earth in a capsule that parachuted into the Gulf of Mexico, the first such splashdown by U.S. astronauts in 45 years.

The astronauts spent several weeks aboard the International Space Station, which is the largest man-made satellite orbiting Earth. It spans the length of a football field and typically has six astronauts living and working on board.

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How to see the International Space Station


On certain nights, the space station is visible as it streams overhead at 17,500 mph — if you know where and when to look.

'It's super easy,' said Stephanie Schierholz, a spokeswoman for NASA's Human Space Flight.

At the request of azcentral.com, Schierholz and Vishnu Reddy, an associate professor in the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, shared tips about how to spot the ISS.

How often does ISS pass overhead?

If you think your days go by quickly, consider this: The International Space Station orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, with astronauts seeing a sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes.

You won't be able to see the space station from Earth during the day. But in a given year, you will have several good sighting opportunities shortly before dawn or after dusk. Two factors determine whether you can see the space station:

  • The spacecraft has to be overhead within an hour or so before dawn or after dusk. It is sunlight reflecting off the station's eight solar panels that makes the satellite visible from Earth.
  • You also have to have good weather. Clouds can obscure views of the station.

Can I see the ISS from my location?

Find out in advance when the space station will be overhead by signing up for text messages or email alerts from NASA using Spot the Station. Enter your city and a cellphone number or email address for the precise minute when the space station will appear and disappear.

Spot the Station is popular with more than 200,000 sign-ups at any given time.

Several hours in advance, you will get a text message or email notifying you of what is expected to be a 'good viewing.' Good viewings are when the space station is high enough in the sky and it's dark enough to see the lights.

The alert tells you when the spacecraft will appear, how long it will be overhead, the direction from which it will appear and where it will disappear.

Another website, N2YO.com, allows you to check whether ISS will be visible in the next 10 days over your location.

On the N2YO.com website, select the menu that says 'most tracked,' then select the menu that says 'space station.' Finally, select the tab that says '10-day predictions' on the left-hand side. Input your city to see times and dates when the space station will pass overhead. Look for ones highlighted in orange, indicating the station will be visible.

Can you see ISS without binoculars?

The space station is clearly visible with the naked eye. Neither binoculars nor a telescope is needed.

How do I view the International Space Station?

Once outside, orient yourself: which way is north, south, east and west? The space station typically moves from south to north or north to south.

The NASA Spot the Station email or text alert gives directions on where the station will appear. For example, '36 degrees NW' means the station will appear 36 degrees above the horizon in the northwest part of the sky.

To figure out the degrees, stretch your arm out straight, make a fist and stack your fists on top of each other. One fist is the equivalent of 10 degrees. So 36 degrees is the equivalent of four fists stacked on top of each other.

What does the space station look like?

Look for a bright, moving dot. It will be brighter than a star and almost as bright as Venus, the brightest planet in the sky. If planes are in the sky, it may take a moment to tell the difference. Planes have blinking lights; the space station does not.

The International Space Station is unmistakable once you spot it. It's visible for a few minutes as it sweeps across the sky and then disappears into the horizon.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

See International Space Station From Earth

Reach the reporter at anne.ryman@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-8072. Follow her on Twitter @anneryman.

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International Space Station Tracker

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Watch the International Space Station as it streams over Arizona