Have a son or daughter that interested in space (heck, are you)? Tonight is a great early viewing night for the International Space Station (ISS). You don’t need a very dark sky. If you can see airplanes at night, you’ll likely be able to see the ISS! There’s a good chance you’ve mistaken it for a high jet in the past.
To find out the time you can best view the Space Station you can checkout the NASA Space Station Location Look Up. You can even set up alerts so you don’t forget. If you are nervous you won’t know where to look, I recommend downloading a star app for your smartphone. SkyGuide is my favorite for the iPhone.
A few tips to make your star/ISS gazing a success:
- Go the darkest spot possible. Turn off any outside (and inside) lights that get into your view.
- If you download an app, make sure you set it to night vision (usually in preferences). It will use a red filter. This will reduce your pupil contraction so you see the dark sky well.
- You are star gazing, look up! Put your phone away once you know where to look.
- Remember as you watch that little light move across the sky, there are people just like you and me in there. Astronaut Scott Kelly and Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are spending an entire year in there.
- Want to take a photo? Try a long exposure 10″ or more to get a great trail.
A few good links to make your mission more enjoyable:
- NASA Space Station Location Look Up
- NASA Space Station Updates
- Basic kids FAQ from KidsKonnect
- Scott Kelly’s Twitter account (he posts some amazing photos from the Space Station)