Lonely Planet Writer

Track the international space station with this new interactive map

NASA has launched a new interactive map that allows people to track the International Space Station as it passes over different countries around the world.

A view of the International Space Station set against the backdrop of Earth.
A view of the International Space Station set against the backdrop of Earth. Image by NASA

The Spot the Station interactive map makes it easier for enthusiasts to plan a sighting by listing the best viewing destinations for the International Space Station as it passes over several thousand worldwide locations during orbit. As the third brightest object in the sky, the station is often easily spotted with some know-how and luck. Visible to the naked eye, it looks like a fast-moving plane high overhead. The map allows users to input their location and search nearby for viewing opportunities that are marked with blue pins. The space station is visible within an 80 kilometre radius around each of the pins on the map.

Today marks 16 years of humans on @Space_Station. Our new interactive map makes it easier to #SpotTheStation: https://t.co/z99tgrg4Ty pic.twitter.com/KCXvAD9TWY

— NASA (@NASA) November 2, 2016

The space station is visible during dawn and dusk hours, as it reflects the light of the Sun. Sighting opportunities in different countries can vary from one sighting per month to several a week, due to the fact that it has to be both dark in a location and the station must be overhead to be visible. The map gives accurate dates, times and locations for anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the fast moving space station, while a text and email alert system is even in place on the website to remind sky watchers.

More information on viewing opportunities in your location is available at NASA’s Spot The Station website.