May 22nd and 23rd will be providing some excellent opportunities for seeing the International Space Station from Europe and North America. The details of each sighting vary from place to place, but it is safe to say that the two days and nights will be offering some of the best sightings for a long time.
From Cardiff where I live, you can expect no less than 10 great opportunities over the course of 48 hours! Even as far north as Edinburgh there will be 9 chances. Across North America the frequency of visible transits will also be very high. So if you live in northern Europe or North America, put May 22nd and 23rd in your diary as a good time to look up!
To keep track of these sightings there are many websites to help. Heaven’s Above is a great website that details visible sightings from any location. If you have an iPhone or iPod touch you can use my own web app, LookUp to do much the same thing. If you use Twitter there are several feeds for cities around the world which are useful even if you live up to 100 miles away.
I have also created Google Earth files for tracking the ISS in real time around the Earth. This doesn’t provide viewing predictions, but it is fun to watch it come up to your location and then dash outside to see it pass overhead!
Times vary for all locations but if you’ve never tried to spot the space station then next week would be the time. It’ll be bright, it’ll be obvious and if you miss it, just go outside again an hour or so later and will probably be reappearing.
If anyone has specific requests for parts of the world not yet covered by the Twitter feeds, please email me. I have been looking to add some more to the list, and this seems like a good time.