Yes, you can see it!

March 16th, 2009 by Chris

In the last week or so I have discovered that there are a lot of people in the world who don’t know how easy the ISS is to see!

If you didn’t know, or you knew but just haven’t bothered, why not!?

If I told you you could just step into your backyard and witness one of the most complex technical achievements of mankind… wouldn’t you do it!?

If you’re along the east coast of North America, the viewing conditions are almost ideal right now and tonight you can see the shuttle and ISS playing tag overhead! Many nights have two visible passes, one just after sundown, and one an orbit later (about 90 minutes). The space station is easy to see because it’s in a relatively low orbit and because it’s HUGE. After this week’s shuttle mission it will be bigger yet. There will be no debating that it is the brightest thing in the sky except for the Sun and Moon.[1]

Want to see it? Great! For a simple set of information on where (and more importantly WHEN) to look, I recommend SpaceWeather.
On the right hand side of their main website is a link for “Satellite Flybys“. Put in your zip code and Shazam! A convenient list of readily observable satellites, times and places appears.

Go! Look! You’ll be impressed that the brilliant yellow light is really a distant outpost of humanity in space. There are real people up there and who knows, maybe they’re looking at you too.

  1. And I suppose some aircraft landing lights if they’re pointed right at you. []

2 Responses to “Yes, you can see it!”

  1. Bradford Says:


    the simple tracker is…. “temporarily overloaded by an avalanche of visitors.”. If you see this and it is easy can you post the the time for Syracuse. I will do a google search, however, may not find it.


  2. Chris Says:

    Sorry Bradford… with the shuttle up and the ‘dual flybys’ that this causes I guess they got pretty overwhelmed.

    There is another site I use called Heavens-Above, which I admit sounds a bit like some kind of cult, but they have a far more advanced (read as: complicated and less user friendly) satellite tracking website.

    You can create an account that will remember your viewing locations, but even as an anonymous user you can select your location from a map and it will generate pass information.

    Sounds like the shuttle is planning to dock with the space station by about 4:30 PM this evening, so no double passes tonight.