Another of the occasional chances to see the International Space Station flying over London takes place this weekend.

iss_sts119_bigAlthough the ISS is visible from London on quite a few passes, such as when it flies over France, 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.

The weather forecast is 50:50 for clouds on Saturday night, and probably not a hope on Sunday.

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 6:27pm on Saturday 18th October, depending on how much of the horizon you can see, and pass right overhead at 6:32pm.

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_flightpath_oct_2014

…a second pass takes place on Sunday, visible from around 7:15pm with overhead at 7:20pm.

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3 comments
  1. 58frankh says:

    It’s been passing over every evening since last Friday (10th) though possibly a bit lower in the sky than it will be on Saturday. But today it will be at 84 deg max. If you subscribe to a NASA site ([email protected]) they send you an email every day when you will be able to see it. Today’s reads “Time: Wed Oct 15 7:20 PM, Visible: 3 min, Max Height: 84 degrees, Appears: WSW, Disappears: E”
    But without powerful binocs/telescope it looks like a very bright start moving very fast.

    • ianvisits says:

      Only one pass was “over” London though and quite low visibility at that — I only highlight when the flightpath comes within the M25.

      After all, flying over France, is often visible from London, but not as much fun as when actually flying over London itself.

  2. Grateful Guest says:

    Great knowledge, many thanks for sharing – my two year old and I watched it with glee in perfect conditions earlier!

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