Watching the Space Station

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We expect to have clear or almost clear skies at dawn for the next few days. And, as chance would have it, the ISS - International Space Station - will be floating over Bellingham just before dawn for the next several mornings. The station finally got its 4th and final set of solar panels a month ago and now it is a very bright object in the sky - when seen in the right light. Pre dawn is the best.

4:30 am to 5:30 am is not an exciting time for most of us to get up. But you know, kids love it when related to a unique event. So if you have children, nieces or nephews or grandchildren, consider scheduling an early morning viewing of the space station with them. The passage will take about 5 minutes - and it can be easily seen without any binoculars. If you have a telescope or binoculars then you will be able to see it better.

We can go weeks without the station passing over us before dawn or after sunset - the only times we really see it well. And then when it does go over, we can have cloudy weather. So, these next few days are special. Here is the schedule for Bellingham. These are only the very brightest times, with Monday morn very slightly the brightest. The sun is rising about 6 am now with the dawn light beginning about 4:30.

Saturday, April 25 - at 5:20 am the ISS rises out of the West Southwest and floats to 74 degrees - almost straight up and then goes off to the East. It will be visible for up to 5 minutes - depending on the haze.

Sunday, April 26 - at 5:46 am, rising from the West and floating to a peak of 60 degrees overhead and then off to the East. Visible for almost 6 minutes.

Monday, April 27 - at 4:38 am, rising from the West Southwest and floating to a height of 80 degrees - really almost straight overhead - and then going off to the East. Visible for a bit less than 5 minutes.

Tuesday, April 28 - at 5:03 am, rising from the West and floating to a height of 57 degrees and then off to the East. Time in sight about 4 minutes.

Have fun. Set the alarm for a bit earlier. Get out of bed and enjoy a brief but fun few minutes.

Below is the link to the NASA site where you can check for this and future passage times. And another website that provides even more information on the fly overs. My list is from the Space Weather website.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Jeffrey Schmidt

Apr 24, 2009

another good site to track satellites….the irridium satellites put on a good show.