The International Space Station
The International Space Station (ISS) is as big as a football field, and has a massive solar panel array. It is in Low Earth Orbit about 150 miles overhead and is moving at 17,000 miles per hour to offset the effects of Earth's gravity. That’s faster than a speeding bullet and it circles the Earth once every 90 minutes.
You can see the ISS from your own backyard!
The ISS is the brightest satellite in the sky and can be seen from your own backyard if you time it right. After sunset and before sunrise you can see the sun reflect off of it while it is in the sunlight and we are in the night’s shadow. It looks like a star, with its steady light moving in an arc across the sky. If you see a blinking light, sorry, it is a jet plane.
The brightness depends on whether it is directly overhead or it is nearer the horizon, making it almost 500 miles away from you. The good news is that it is very predictable and you can get a forecast of when it will be visible overhead in your town. Generally, it will be visible for a week or so at a time at the evening, then a week in the morning, then not visible at all.
Click the button below to see if the ISS will be overhead this week in Round Rock.
Next click on the date hyperlink to see a map of where it will be in the sky.
Then head to your backyard about 5 minutes before the show!