If you’re travelling under even moderately dark skies, the arrival overhead of the International Space Station is spell-binding – and now completely predictable
Best at twilight
At its brightest and best about an hour after the sun has dipped below the horizon but is still catching the solar panels of the orbiting laboratory, the ISS is unmistakable once you’ve seen it, but its orbit is rather erratic from our point of view.
ISS Spotter turns a chance encounter with the ISS into a regular, predictable event by plotting its progress on a world map. It also checks your own location and produces a list of that month’s exactly timed sightings (they usually come on 3-10 successive days every month or so) complete with optional alarm.
You’ll be surprised by its initial brightness; it streaks across the sky in about three or four minutes (and around the globe in just 90 minutes), and looks truly supersonic through a pair of binoculars, fading as it races east and away from the Sun’s rays. ISS Spotter is a great way to kick-start some stargazing.