How To Watch The International Space Station (ISS) Fly Over Australia Tonight

How To Watch The International Space Station (ISS) Fly Over Australia Tonight

Stargazers are in for a rare treat tonight, with the ISS space station visible to the naked eye as it shoots over Australia. Here’s what you need to know about watching this awe-inspiring occurrence without a telescope.

Note: Missed yesterday’s flyover? There’s still a chance to see the ISS tonight. Click here and choose your city from the drop-down menu to see what time it will be passing overhead.

What time will the International Space Station be passing over?

The best time to view the ISS is a few hours after dusk. According to NASA, this is the optimum viewing period as the sun reflects off the space station and contrasts against the darker sky. It will appear low in the horizon.

Here are the optimal viewing times and compass directions for Australia’s capital cities:

    Brisbane: 7:30 PM (10° above WNW)
    Sydney: 8:31pm (11 degrees above NW)
    Canberra: 8:31 PM (10° above NNW)
    Perth: 8:41 PM (24° above SW)
    Adelaide: 9:36 PM (10° above WNW)
    Melbourne: 10:08 PM (11° above W)
    Hobart: 10:09 PM (10° above WNW)
    Darwin: 4:50 AM, Feb 17 (17° above SSE)

What does the ISS look like?

The International Space Station is the brightest man-made object in the sky. To the naked eye, it is not dissimilar to a moving star. Unlike an aeroplane, it doesn’t have flashing lights and it moves a lot faster (a cool 17,500 miles per hour).

How long will the ISS appear for?

Unlike eclipses and meteor showers, the ISS is only visible for a very short time. According to NASA, you can expect tonight’s viewing window to last between 3 and 6 minutes, depending on your location. In other words, be sure to be looking skyward a few minutes before the estimated time of appearance.

You may then talk to strangers about the wonders of the universe, like Tim and Eric:

” excerpt=”General knowledge is important. While it might not come up in everyday life, it’s an effective intelligence barometer that can colour people’s perception of you and leave your reputation permanently tarnished. This got us to thinking — how much does the average human actually know about the solar system? Take our quiz to find out!”]



  • What makes you think this is a “rare treat”?

    The ISS is visible from pretty well everywhere on the planet in the evening sky every couple of weeks. (And twice as often, if you’re prepared to get up before dawn to watch it pass over.) If you miss this pass, don’t panic, you’ll get another chance in a few days – and again after that, and again after that …

    Try downloading the “Heavens Above” app to get a list of predictions of satellite passes at your location – including the ISS and the Hubble Space Telescope, etc.

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