Satellite Sighting Opportunities - View Spacecraft From Your Own Backyard!

Depending on your location on the Earth’s surface, time of day, and weather conditions, you might be able to see various satellites as they orbit above the planet.  And for the large satellites, especially the International Space Station (ISS), you don’t even need dedicated equipment and telescopes.  You only need to know where to look at, and at what time.  These will be seen as a steady white pinpoint of light moving slowly across the sky.  It’s no big thing to be astonished at, since the ISS is as large as a US football field, and at times it is the second brightest object in the night sky... only surpassed by the moon!

NASA’s mission centre uses sophisticated computer software to predict when and where certain satellites will be visible to people on the ground.   Specific details are then given on this site telling you where to look at in the sky and at what time.  Do not worry if you’re a novice, a simple tutorial is also present to aid you in interpreting the data given.  An applet called NASA SkyWatch is also available on the site that allows much more customizability in the search and in the results.  You can even input your exact coordinates and even choose a specific satellite you want to track.

A spectacular event to try and catch is when a space shuttle gets rid of excess waste water by damping them individually or simultaneously overboard through water spray nozzles.  Viewing through binoculars or a telescope can reveal a spectacular view of the spacecraft and the ice crystals that form as the water is sprayed overboard.  Or else why not even try to view a shuttle/station docking mission?

Check out the Sighting Opportunities and NASA Skywatch at