Showing posts with label ISS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ISS. Show all posts

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

International Space Station over Australia and New Zealand

See the International Space Station (ISS) fly over Australia and New Zealand. 

Source: Chris Hadfield
There are many good viewing opportunities of the International Space Station this week for people in Australia and New Zealand.  Below is a list of links that take you to the end of this article where there is a list of several major cities in Australia and New Zealand listing times and where to look in the sky to see the Space station. 

The image to the right is of a Sunrise as viewed from the space station, the astronauts would see several of these per day.

We have included the following locations


Since my first Space Station post many people have asked me how can they work out when they can see it for their location, there are several ways to do this I have listed a few here 
  1.  This is a NASA site that lets you see when the ISS and other satellites are flying overhead, you can enter GPS coordinates or your city name, and this site will show you when the next several over passes are happening. This site also will show you when about 400 other satellites are passing over head as well. 
  2. This is an email alert service from NASA and will email you for your location whenever the ISS is going to over pass your area. 
  3. There are many small apps that you can get for iOS, Android, Windows and many other phones / tablets that will show you what is in the sky above you. Many of these will also include alarms that will warn you as the ISS or other satellites are about to pass.
  4. Stare at the sky, until you see the third brightest object move overhead ;) although this sounds silly, its not really, this was meant to encourage people to look up at the stars. If you do it often enough you will eventually notice the ISS.
For the last few weeks I have been following Chris Hadfield on Google+ and his amazing photos that he takes from the space station, and the geek in me thought it was pretty cool to watch a twitter conversation between Captain Kirk and Chris Hadfield.

Take a walk outside, look up at the stars, wonder what is out there, show the kids and explain to them that there are 6 men living up there inside a Space Station, a space station that is a combined effort of many planets of Earth. Hopefully this will encourage them to become curious and want to learn more about the stars, space and what can be done out there.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

I can see something over New Zealand from Brisbane

The other night I was watching the International Space Station (ISS) over passing Brisbane and by using the ISS tracker I realized that as the ISS disappeared over the horizon it was now above New Zealand. This meant that while I was standing on the road outside my house in Suburban Brisbane, I was able to see an object in the air that was currently located over New Zealand.

Usually when i am looking for the ISS to fly over, there has been minimal cloud cover so it has been easy to spot it, but the other night, there was a lot of cloud cover, so I used the tracker to help me align where to look, it was then that I noticed where the ISS was currently which was over Emerald about 650 km North West of where I was now (Brisbane) , and the ISS had been above the horizon for a few minutes already,

I was pretty amazed that it was still that far away and I could see it, as I continued to monitor the ISS as it approached the horizon I was able to see that it passed fairly quickly South of Sydney and was still easily visible. I lost sight of the ISS when it was about 10 degrees above the horizon behind some trees and noticed that it was about to cross the coast of New Zealand which was about 2300 km away.

Path of International Space Station Click for Larger Image.
I estimate from where it disappeared that it would have been visible if I could spot it early, about 10 degrees above the horizon that it would be visible from the middle of the Gulf of Carpentaria (A in the image). Over B, which is where i was located all the way to the coast of New Zealand (C in the image ) a total distance of 4600 km.

The distances it will be visible from will vary depending on the height of the ISS, the orbit decays (gets closer to earth) and then rockets are used to increase the distance from Earth, I do not know when the ISS flew over if it was high, middle or a low height. The time and hence distance it will be visible for will also vary on how close the overpass is, this over pass was at 62 degrees so was a medium length overpass, a 20 degree overpass (Such as the overpass tonight 8th Jan 2013) would be noticeably less distance. If you are not sure why - get a tennis / basket ball and mark a dot where you are and move your finger over the ball as if it was the ISS.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

See the International Space Station pass over Brisbane to tonight.

Click here for an updated overpass times 22 January 2013

At the moment there are six men, who are working and living in an artificial environment 370 km above the earth, travelling at nearly 8 km per second (28,000 km per hour) and tonight as it does every few weeks it will pass over our heads. This is the International Space Station.

At 8:10 pm for about 6 minutes it will be visible, over Brisbane, Queensland as small bright dot crossing over the sky. It will appear from the NW and will disappear to the SE, it will reach a maximum height of 76'. I have been monitoring the ISS for a few months now, and this is the highest and hence longest duration overpass I have seen,

Image courtesy of
From my experience last time, you won't be able to spot it until it is about 10 or 15 degrees above the horizon and will be pretty easy to spot. It's appears a lot brighter than the background stars and is noticeably moving across the sky. The space station is the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the moon.

I will be in Graceville park (with dogs) which is a good location to see it from as it is a large space so the horizon is very low. If anyone wants to come along feel free to come over and say hello.

Here is a link to the NASA site about how to see the Space Station, and you can sign up here to be notified of when it is flying over your location.

I think that this is something fantastic to show the kids as it may spark their imagination about space, and get them thinking about science. And since it is school holidays they can stay up a bit later if young.