Another rare confluence of the International Space Station flying over London on a clear night should take place on Tuesday evening.

iss_sts119_bigAlthough the ISS is visible from London on quite a few passes, it more rarely has a route that actually passes right over our heads, and also on a night when the clouds also get out of the way.

According to the weather forecasts, the night sky will be very clear at 9pm

Assuming that all is well, what you want to do is find a nice place with a decent view of the sky — a park, or anywhere above the local street lighting level will do.

It should become visible around about 9:02pm on Tuesday 15th April, depending on how much of the horizon you can see, and pass right overhead just after 9:05pm.

To see it, face directly to the West a couple of minutes before it is due to arrive to get used to the dark sky — then watch out for a single bright star flying in a straight line directly towards you and overheard. That’s the space station. It takes a moment to spot it, but once you do, it becomes very noticeable.

You should be able to watch it for a minute or two as it flies over.

Technically, the space station passes just inside the M25 barrier to qualify as “over London” for my purposes — but because of its height, it will appear to be right overhead from the ground, regardless of where you are in London.

Don’t forget to give the astronauts a wave as they fly over!

iss_london_april_14

The ISS will be visible from most of England — and the flypast last a couple of minutes over England, so the times are as above, give or take 10-20 seconds. Obviously, if you are north of London, you will need to look very slightly to the southern half of the sky above.

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7 comments
  1. Graham Tanner says:

    There are visible passes (from London) by the ISS every evening this week.

    Monday 14th, 20.11-20.21 and 21.47-21.58

    Tuesday 15th, 20.59-21.10

    Weds 16th, 20.11-20.22 and 21.48-21.58
    (this 2nd one is more to the southwest of London, but will still be visible)

    Thurs 17th, 21.00-21.10.

    Don’t forget, if you’re an ‘early riser’ then tomorrow (Tuesday 15th) there is a Lunar Eclipse as the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow, and it should turn an orangey-red.

    • IanVisits says:

      The main difference is that those other passes are visible from London, but they don’t actually pass over London itself. I tend to only list this event when the ISS will come within the spatial confines of the M25.

  2. Ben Tilley says:

    Just saw the ISS fly directly over my back garden in Clapham. Brightest star in the sky moving quickly from west to east. Have tried looking for it before, but never with a clear sky. Thanks for your guide, really useful.

  3. Darren says:

    Just had a fantastic view of the ISS from the middle of a deserted (but still quite brightly lit) park in New Cross. As soon as I spotted it a few degrees above the tree line it was unmistakeable, then I tracked it for a whole 5 minutes across almost the entire sky (it faded out before it dipped below the railway line to the east).

    Thanks for the blog post Ian!

  4. mark harrington says:

    Really appreciated, great view tonight, beautiful night sky too.

  5. Sarah says:

    Saw it last night over SE London with my family. Amazing. Did give a wave and like to think they saw!

  6. gary burton says:

    Where has it vanished to lately seems to have disappeared

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