The International Space Station (ISS) has been hovering over the earth since 1998, and this week is an especially good time to look up and catch it as it flies over the Rockford area multiple times.
Without my son Spencer, who is a fan of all things space travel, I wouldn’t know anything about it. I remember him telling me a few years ago that he read about the ISS orbit and how that orbit goes directly over Rockford many times over the course of a year. From what he saw we were minutes away from seeing it go over us.
His information turned out to be right for the money, and we stood on our deck and scanned the sky for a few moments before we saw them. They looked like a non-blinking star moving at fairly high speed directly over our house.
According to EarthSky.org, the ISS orbits approximately 220 miles above Earth and moves at an average speed of 17,227 miles per hour. That altitude and speed means we have multiple viewing options for many nights in case you miss one.
NASA knew people like this type of tour and made it easy to check when the ISS will be over Rockford (or anywhere else on Earth where you might be). All you have to do is visit SpotTheStation.nasa.gov for a list of ISS sighting opportunities.
According to SpotTheStation, you can see the ISS over the Rockford area this week:
- Today (May 24th) Two opportunities, 5 minutes at 10:12 p.m. and 2 minutes at 11:49 p.m.
- Tuesday: two options, 5 minutes at 9.25 p.m. and 4 minutes at 11.02 p.m.
- Wednesday: two options, 5 minutes at 10:14 p.m. and 1 minute at 11:51 p.m.
- Thursday: 2 occasions, 6 minutes at 9:27 p.m. and 3 minutes at 11:04 p.m.
- Friday: 1 opportunity, 5 minutes at 10:16 p.m.
When you visit SpotTheStation, it explains exactly where to look up at the sky so you don’t have to waste precious time going around in circles. You can also sign up for notifications from NASA so you know when to go outside and look up.