Provided you know in which direction to look, spotting the ISS with the naked eye is not as difficult as it might seem. Although the ISS travels at a speed of 7.7 km per second, it is just 400 km above our heads – and thanks to its large solar panels it is one of the brightest objects in the night sky, making it fairly easy to spot from when it rises above the horizon in a westerly direction, until it sets towards the East.
The ISS passes over most points on Earth every day, but cannot always be seen. Normally the best time for ISS-gazing is just before dawn or just after sunset, when the observer is in the dark but the ISS is in the Sun. But for two short periods in June and December each year, the ISS doesn't pass through Earth's shadow at all, and its passes are visible all through the night if the sky is clear.
For most locations in Europe the period of frequent visibility is between 17-21 June – although in some places the ISS is already making a regular appearance throughout the night.
Send your ISS images
It is possible to take ISS viewing a step further – some enthusiasts take still photographs or make videos as the Station passes overhead. A team at the Public Observatory in Munich, Germany, use professional equipment to capture spectacularly detailed images, some of which even show the Station’s communication antennae.
If you want to photograph the ISS you don’t need such specialist equipment used by the team in Munich. Gerhard Holtkamp sent us his time-lapse image taken from a location in Western Australia, which shows the Station as a trail among the stars.
Do you plan to photograph the ISS as it passes through the night sky? Send your best images to email@example.com – you could see them published on the ESA website.
Viewing times where you are
Go to http://www.esa.int/seeiss to find out the best viewing times from where you live.
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences