Star Charts and Ground Tracks

Jupiter's lucky day.

From the vantage point of most inhabitants of our small planet, the International Space Station is a bright object in a clear nighttime sky. Until its arc casts it again into shadow, the ISS basks in sunlight we won't see until dawn. Unfortunately, that reflected luminosity only lasts a few minutes at a time, which is why we need sites like Heavens-Above to keep us informed of its relative when- and whereabouts.

In little more time than it takes to say orbital parameters, it's easy to find out exactly where and when the space station will drift into view, and for how long. If you know (1) where you live, (2) where the sun sets, and (3) which way is up, you have all the information you need. Heavens-Above will do the rest.

This eveningfrom my particular viewpoint here in the nation's midsection anywaythe ISS will float by in the southern sky, directly below Jupiter and heading for the moon. It won't make it to the moon, of course; it will wink out before it has that opportunity.

But hey, there's always the next orbit . . .



  1. Ah, yes: #3, "which way is up." I thought I had that one down pat, but then I keep stumbling face-first over familiar potholes.

  2. That makes two of us. Maybe more, if you count the ones on my face. Not that I would expect you to do that. Just saying.