For someone like me who’s fascinated by space and stars, there’s nothing quite like watching a pass of the International Space Station. It’s amazing to think there’s a crew of six circling the Earth every hour and a half, 250 miles up and travelling at a little over 19,000 miles per hour. Yes, that’s what I said… 19,000 miles per hour. Pretty zippy eh?
Visible passes come around every few months, and usually fall on five or six consecutive dates. You’ll find me outside on those nights, gazing up at the sky, waiting for it to appear. And if the sky is clear and the magnitude bright enough, you can’t miss it – it will look like a bright, white, moving star travelling across the sky from west to east. If it’s flickering, that’s not it, the ISS is a steady white light. If it’s not moving, you’re looking at a star. And if you can see flashing white, red or green lights on it, that’s a plane. Or possibly a UFO.
So, do you want to see it? You can click the link below, which will take you to an excellent ISS tracker website. Have a look on the right hand side for your location (which is automatically determined by your IP address). If it’s way off (mine always sticks me in Wales for some reason) you can click ‘Change My Location’ and enter your own details. Once that’s done, go to the Home page and click on ‘5 Day Predictions’ on the right, just below the box that tells you if the satellite is in daylight or not. This’ll give you a list of upcoming passes (orange-coloured ones are the best) and the start/end times of each pass.
The next one for me is on the 18th February at 18:07, so guess where I’ll be? Yep, out on the street, waving. Because you have to wave…