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Sci-Tech

Sign up to see the International Space Station

You may have already seen the ISS in the night sky without even knowing it. Now you can sign up to receive NASA alerts about when it will be in your area.

(Credit: NASA)

You may have already seen the International Space Station (ISS) in the night sky without even knowing it. Now you can sign up to receive NASA alerts about when it will be in your area.

A few weeks ago, I got to see the ISS in the night sky over Sydney — thanks to a little NASA service called Spot the Station.

When you sign up with your email address (US users can also sign up to receive text messages), NASA will notify you a few hours in advance of when the ISS is due to appear in the darkened sky of the city you selected — with over 4600 locations around the globe available for the service and the ISS's high speed, your chances of space station-spotting are high.

This service will only notify you of "good" sighting opportunities — that is, sightings that are high enough in the sky (40 degrees or more) and last long enough to give you the best view of the orbiting laboratory. This will be anywhere from once or twice a week to once or twice a month, depending on the space station's orbit.

You can sign up to Spot the Station here; or you can head over to the satellite sighting information website for a schedule of when the ISS is expected to appear in your skies.

Seeing a bright light moving through the sky not quite enough? Take a YouTube tour of the ISS with former Commander Sunita Williams here.