The International Space Station (ISS) makes regular appearances in the West Australian sky! The ISS is an amazing sight to see in the night sky and you don’t need a telescope or binoculars to see it.
When and where to look:
Sunday the 11th of December
Rising from the North West at 8:36pm and passing almost directly overhead, this ISS pass is the brightest of the month! Lasting over 10 minutes, the ISS will make a close pass to both Jupiter and the bright star Canopus. Click here for more info
A little less bright than the night before, the ISS makes a bright return to our skies at 7:48pm rising from the north west. The ISS will thread the needle between Jupiter and Mars before making a close pass to the stars of Rigel and Canis Major. Click here for more info
Saturday the 31st of December
Celebrate the New Year with a very bright ISS pass! Rising from the south west at 8:53pm the ISS will pass directly overhead, travelling towards the constellation of Orion, before fading out of sight. Click here for more info
What Are You Looking For?
If you’ve never seen the ISS before, watch for a bright star-like object that moves slowly and steadily across the night sky in a straight line. You might notice it starts to dim in appearance and gets brighter before it disappears from view altogether. The ISS has lots of solar panels that reflect the Sun’s light back to Earth. When it disappears from view, what you’re seeing is the ISS move into Earth’s shadow.
Remember to set your alarm and be outside a little bit earlier to make sure you know which direction to look!
When you’re watching, imagine yourself up there looking down on Earth. There are six astronauts on board – three NASA Astronauts and three Russian Cosmonauts!
Where is the ISS Now?
The ISS orbits Earth every 90 minutes! That’s 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets everyday for the astronauts on board! It travels at about 26,000 km/hour and is an average 400 km above Earth.
Who is On Board the ISS Now?
Can you imagine being on board the ISS in space about 350-400kms above the Earth’s surface?
Fascinated by Humans in Space?
Houston we have a Podcast! It’s true! You can find out more about human space travel by tuning into NASA’s weekly podcast.
Discover How to Track the ISS
There are some great apps and computer software programs to help you track the ISS yourself. Here are a few of our free favourites:
Orbitrack (iPhone, coming to Android in 2019)
Heavens Above (Android app and computer)
Sputnik! (iPhone app)
CalSky (computer only)