The International Space Station, ISS, and Earth

NASA site helps answer the question, when will the ISS be overhead, with email/sms alerts

NASA has had a crazy, busy year – apart from landing a massive rover on Mars, and transporting the retired space shuttle Endeavour through the streets of LA (like that was a normal thing to do), the space agency also found it’s mojo on the web.

So with all this going on you can forgive us for not spotting this gem of a service that NASA released last week.  The Agency has created a service that will alert you whenever the International Space Station is overhead – and it works wherever you are in the world.

NASA’s Spot The Station website continues NASA’s brilliant efforts in bringing its work to the public.  The website lets you sign up for text and email alerts which will be delivered to you whenever the ISS is going to be over your location; and should allow photographers the chance to capture images of the ISS in orbit.

If you do sign up for the service NASA has this advice when searching for the ISS in the night’s sky; “The space station looks like a fast-moving plane in the sky, though one with people living and working aboard it more than 200 miles above the ground. It is best viewed on clear nights.”

You should be able to see the space station with the naked eye – it’s the size of a football field and the third brightest object in the sky during optimum viewing times.

International Space Station - size comparison

International Space Station – size comparison. Credit: NASA

The agency says that the data for the alerts comes from Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, which calculates the visibility for the ISS for 4,600 locations around the world.  NASA says that the ISS will be visible to users at least once or twice a month but it could be visible some users as often as once or twice a week.

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