The International Space Station will make a number of its occasional passes right over London this weekend and if you know what to look for, you can watch it pass overhead.
As it is so high above us, it’ll look to be almost exactly overhead pretty much regardless of where it passes, and a few passes will be visible even though the path itself is technically not “over London”, but I have included them just in case the clouds are a problem on other days.
To see the ISS, go outside a few minutes before hand and find a location with a decent view of the sky overhead — a back garden or local park with minimal street lighting near you is ideal, or anywhere above the local street lighting level — a balcony for example.
Face to the west and get used to the darkness and start to make out the stars (and work out which moving stars are planes, or aliens).
Depending on how much of the horizon you can see, the times below are roughly when the ISS should start to become visible — and you are looking for a fairly fast flying star in the sky flying in a straight line running west to east almost exactly overhead.
Once you spot it — it will become very obvious to the naked eye. It should look like it is flying straight towards you. Depending on how much of the sky you can see, it should be visible for up to 4 minutes from horizon to horizon.
Give it a wave — the astronauts might be looking down at the same time.
Wed 30th Jan – 6:00pm (visible, slightly to the south)
Thur 31st Jan – 5:10pm (visible, slightly to the south)
Fri 1st Feb – 5:55pm (right overhead)
Sat 2nd Feb – 5:03pm (right overhead)
Sun 3rd Feb – 5:50pm (right overhead)
Mon 4th Feb – 4:58pm (visible, slightly to the north)
Tues 5th Feb – 5:42pm (visible, slightly to the south)
Wed 6th Feb – 4:52pm (right overhead)
The ISS is visible from London as it passes over parts of the UK several times each year, but only occasionally does it pass right over London itself.