LIVE SKY CHART
The map on the left represents sky and satellite trajectory as visible from your location. The map background is white for day passes and black for night passes.
The green line represents the part of the trajectory where the satellite is sunlit (visible), whilst the grey line represents the part where the satellite is in Earth shadow (not visible).
You can see where the satellite will be in your sky at a different time simply by changing the program time with the following keys:
Seconds: [s] / [S]
Minutes: [m] / [M]
Hours: [h] / [H]
Days: [d] / [D]
Zoom can be changed with [z] / [Z]
| Horizontal View (Binocular), Local Time|
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Observing the International Space Station (ISS) crossing your sky is very simple and it does not even require any instrument. The ISS is easily visible to the naked eye as the brightest satellite orbiting the Earth. If you have never observed the Space Station, follow these simple steps, and you will be able to obtain the information you need in just 5 clicks.
Step 1 (2 clicks) - Setting your coordinates
First of all, you have to tell the program in which part of the Planet you are now. Your current coordinates seem to be:
Latitude: 13.7917 ° N
Longitude: 121.008 ° E
Please check whether these coordinates are correct. You should see a little house on the map at your location. Please note that to obtain accurate predictions your position should be accurate at least within a few kilometres, thus, enlarge the map to check that the little house appears close to your actual location.
Step 2 (1 click) - Predict the visible passes
After your coordinates have been set, you can check when the ISS will cross your sky. To do this, simply click on the Predict Passes button in the program panel (or click here). You will see a table reporting when the ISS rises on your horizon (rise time), reaches the maximum elevation (culmination time), and sets again under your horizon (set time), which ends the pass. For each pass the table reports also the Sun elevation at the satellite's rise time.
Step 3 (1 click) - Choose your best pass
To easily see the ISS pass, the sky should be already a little dark, this means that the sun has to be at least -5 / -6 degrees of elevation (under the horizon). You can consider to be at night when the Sun is at least about 9 degrees under the horizon.
After you have identified your best pass click on its time in the culmination time column; the system will show you the satellite position at this time on the map. Around the satellite you will see also the visibility circle, which represents the geographical area where the satellite can be observed at that time. Indeed, the little house will appear inside the visibility circle.
Step 4 (1 click) - See the sky map of the pass
Now you know where the ISS is at the selected time, but it's still not obvious where to look in order to see it in the sky, for this reason the program can help you displaying the satellite path among the stars on a sky chart. You can open this sky chart simply by clicking on the Draw Sky Chart button in the control panel (or click here). You will find the satellite among the stars along with its path, which can assume two different colours: grey or green. The grey part represents the part of the orbit when the satellite is not sunlit, thus not visible, whilst the green part represents the part of the orbit when the satellite is sunlit, therefore visible, and this is where you can finally spot the ISS. If you want to know the ISS position at a different time, you can change the program time simply by using the [S] [M] [H] keys, with (decrease) or without (increase) the [SHIFT] key.
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Photo credit: Oleg Artemyev
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