ISS tracker: what is the International Space Station and how to see it orbit Earth from the UK throughout November 2020

ISS tracker: what is the International Space Station and how to see it orbit Earth from the UK throughout November 2020

Keep an eye out for a glimpse of the ISS later this month
Keep an eye out for a glimpse of the ISS later this month

The International Space Station (ISS) will be visible over UK skies throughout November.

The ISS is currently orbiting Earth at 17,500mph, and at an altitude of roughly 200 miles.

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As the largest space station and laboratory ever built, the ISS is relatively easy to find with your eyes, so you won’t need to worry about having any special equipment in order to get a glimpse.

How can I find the ISS in the night sky?

The best way to spot the ISS when it’s flying over Earth is to find out when it is due to pass your location, and where to look for it in the sky.

A key piece of advice is to start looking to the west, as the ISS always starts its passes over Earth from a western part of the sky. However, it's not always at the same point. Sometimes it can appear low on the horizon, while some passes will be very high.

The space station will pass straight over head, so 90 degrees to your location. A good indicator for judging this is that a fist outstretched at arm’s length is about 10 degrees.

The Space Station takes around 90 minutes to orbit the Earth. A pass over your location can last around five minutes, and the ISS will look incredibly bright. Because it moves so fast, it can sometimes be mistaken for an aircraft.

A good way of determining the difference is that the ISS does not have any flashing lights and can be much brighter than a standard aircraft.

Viewers should give themselves plenty of time in order to watch, and keep their eyes peeled for other objects in the sky.

When can I see the Space Station in November 2020?

Here are the details of all the bright passes from the ISS this month. Watchers should be aware that the UK pass times may change at short notice if the International Space Station performs an orbital boost and changes its orbit.

24 November

A very bright low pass by, rising 10 degrees over the horizon at 17:04, approaching from the South West.

25 November

An incredibly bright medium altitude pass, rising 10 degrees over the horizon at 17:52 approaching from the South West.

26 November

An incredibly bright medium altitude pass, rising 10 degrees over the horizon at 17:05, approaching from the South West.

27 November

An incredibly bright overhead pass, rising 10 degrees over the horizon at 17:53, approaching from West South West.

28 November

An incredibly bright overhead pass, rising 10 degrees over the horizon at 17:05, approaching from West South West.

29 November

An incredibly bright overhead pass, rising 10 degrees over the horizon at 17:54, approaching from the West.

30 November

An incredibly bright overhead pass, rising 10 degrees over the horizon at 17:06, approaching from the West.