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June 2, 2008

See the Shuttle and Space Station from your backyard

Posted: 09:54 AM ET

Let's say you see a star where there wasn't one five minutes ago.  And it's moving.   And it's definitely not a plane.  

You may be looking at the International Space Station, or, after its docking today (Monday), the Space Shuttle and ISS together.

NASA operates a site that can show you the location of the two  - and when you might be able to catch a fleeting glimpse of them from your own yard:  Just add clear skies, darkness, and a relative absence of bright city lights

The ISS Viewing Schedule comes with an applet where you can enter your location or ZIP code, and you'll get the time and date of when to look, along with the location in the sky of where to look.    The next one for my home outside Atlanta is June 3 at 10:51pm.


Peter Dykstra   Executive Producer   CNN Science and Tech

Filed under: International Space Station • NASA • Space

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Scott Mason   June 2nd, 2008 11:46 am ET

I want to see the ISS.

s callahan   June 2nd, 2008 1:49 pm ET

lol, talk about putting things back into mean that wasn't a UFO? lol .

Danny Dvorak   June 2nd, 2008 7:01 pm ET

Sweet. I will have to check it out.

Old Bob   June 2nd, 2008 7:23 pm ET

Scott, if you live in the US, use this NASA site:

Also, you can use:

Sean Beard   June 3rd, 2008 3:53 am ET

Another good site for tracking the ISS and Shuttle is I work nights and spend free time observing the ISS sometimes.

Last November I was able to see the ISS and Shuttle undocked, but still relatively close to each other in the sky. It was pretty awesome. Makes you feel small.

If you want to see a "UFO" try to observe an iridium flare. It is caused by the reflection of sunlight off of the one of the antennae of a passing iridium satellite. To see one and not know what it is can really freak you out!

C. C.   June 3rd, 2008 8:39 am ET

The ISS Viewing Schedule is so cool, I'm thrilled CNN has posted it on its site! Thanks to my astronomer dad, I've seen the ISS and shuttle fly overhead – visible with the naked eye – on several occasions, yet each time takes your breath away. The best part is grabbing a few people around you – friends, neighbors (and even the hotel front desk people one time when I was traveling) – a few minutes before the fly over, bringing them outside, then showing them the ISS as it gracefully zips across the sky. You can tell it's a moment that will impact these people for the rest of their lives. So cool.
Thanks, CNN!

Jack Abule   June 3rd, 2008 10:42 am ET

Tis is amazing and every one should care about this subject although i don't agree with every thing they say i still care

Don   June 3rd, 2008 12:19 pm ET

I've seen it once. It's haulin' *$^ Nothing moves faster in the night sky.

Edsel Chromie   June 3rd, 2008 4:18 pm ET

June 1, 2008 was the 28th anniversary of the first broadcast of the CNN News cable network. Thousands of stories of exceptional progress in computers, spacecraft, wireless communications, etc., were reported on CNN during this time. By contrast, the research scientists took a giant leap backward when they reported in 1980 that many of their "once tidy and most cherished theories have been shot to hell by the Voyager l spacecraft". The NASA scientists have been examining thousands of photos and data regarding the rings of Saturn relayed by the Voyager l and Cassini spacecraft for the same 28 years. Still, the NASA leading imaging team scientist, Dr. Carolyn Porco, said a few weeks ago, "It is extremely complex and it will take us a long time to figure it all out. I don't think we will ever be able to figure all of it out." Yet, not one reporter seems to have the nerve to ask the scientists why they have simply reported hundreds of new anomalies discovered by the spacecraft but have not been able to explain any of them. Obviously, the scientists have been focusing on the wrong premise of thermodynamics and gravity while nature uses the unique characteristics of magnetic field current to ionize and stimulate atoms of invisible gases to a glowing state of excitement to create the illusion of solid particles reflecting sunlight. This is why the scientists cannot explain the mathematically impossible speed and the absolutely impossible bizarre movements of their imaginary solid particles to create the fascinating visual configurations within the rings of Saturn. I can demonstrate with a very clearly visible assimilation how these bizarre visual anomalies can be created via a magnetic field current surrounding a charge of static electricity stimulating normally invisible atoms of gases to a glowing, visible state of excitement. Since magnetic field currents normally travel at the speed of light, and the atoms of gases can be instantly stimulated to a glowing state of excitement and equally instantaneously lose their glow whenever and wherever the stimulating current flow subsides, I can duplicate every bizarre phenomenon within the rings of Saturn with my concept. Yet, the scientists have been trying for 28 years to figure out how these phenomena can occur with their concept of solid particles reflecting sunlight, without success and admittedly not ever expecting any total success. Isn't it about time for reporters to question the scientists about their total lack of success after thousands of hours of investigating data gathered by the spacecraft by hundreds of scientists at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars?

Edsel Chromie 760 741-3392
1305 Loma De Paz
Escondido, Ca. 92027

Richard Fredrick   June 3rd, 2008 10:25 pm ET

But the ISS and Shuttle (which are really impressive when the Shuttle is on its way up or down) aren't the only moving "stars" in the night sky. Many satellites may be seen from a fairly dark site; perhaps the best website for information is one run by Chris Peat in Germany (not restricted by the U.S. government). His site is and be sure to check out the Iridium flares!

Richard Fredrick

p.s. I had a personal reality check when I got on one of the CompuServe groups years ago and found out that MIR was visible to the unaided eye. Kind of sad that they had to bring it down.

Scott in Boston   June 3rd, 2008 10:32 pm ET

Grabbed my better half and trudged up to a high spot on a golf course near my house last night to see this.


I live just outside the city so I figured the lights would be an issue but it was a clear night and it literally was the brightest object in the sky. I couldn't believe how fast it moved (something like 17K MPH).

Grab a compass, find a good spot, and enjoy!

Lisa in Winston   June 4th, 2008 2:01 pm ET

Edsel Chromie, dude, it's just a blogs about satellite tracking. That's CNN for this info, will use!

Jon   June 4th, 2008 3:21 pm ET

it's a very cool site - I have been using it for a few years. One thing to note that is extra cool is to view the Shuttle after is separates from the ISS. You will see two very bright dots in the sky chasing each other. Pretty neat.

The NASA Skywatch will also track Shuttle re-entry. If you are in the area where the Shuttle starts hitting enough air you will be able to hear its re-entry booms.

The other satellites are a difficult to see. HST (hubble) is the only exception.

Dave in Charlotte   June 4th, 2008 5:12 pm ET

Using NASA's website, I look at the ISS and Shuttle every chance I get, and I've been doing so since 1995. It reminds me of seeing Sputnik when I was a little kid. TIP: the best time to see it is right after sunset... the sunlight reflected back to earth is particularly bright.

Parents... get you kids out there to see it.

S Callahan   June 6th, 2008 11:42 pm ET

I have the luck of the Irish..each time I've planned to observe it seems there is only cloud cover.....oh well, i'll keep trying.

Aside from that, I read on the NASA site that the dig took place in little Bear on 6/60/8 and now the dirt is in the oven...will there be a blog to keep us up to par on the results?

Laura Graff   June 7th, 2008 12:27 am ET

If you have seen it once its no big deal. Back in the 1960's I saw
the echo sattelite, I followed the movement for about 15 minutes. It
was a little fascinating then, but its become old hat. It is amazing
though how far our world has progressed since then. Computers
back then weighed a half ton and filled a fairly large room. One I used
in college was the IBM 360.Now we have microchips smaller than a
bug.In some ways I miss the old days when gas was .30cents a gal
a loaf of bread 20cents and a good brand new car for 5000. A top of the
line Mercedes in the mid sixties was about 8000.

Ryan   June 7th, 2008 12:48 pm ET

If people want to look towards Grand Forks, ND, you can see my full moon

Larian LeQuella   June 7th, 2008 4:38 pm ET

I remember looking at Skylab back in the day as well. I always make it a point to show my daughter and wife when I know it will be visible. Anything to stimulate the imagination and an interest in science!

s callahan   June 8th, 2008 4:41 pm ET

wo nights ago, I finally had the privledge of seeing the station....curious though, from my view it appeared redish...why is that? Was i looking at the station or something different?

s callahan   June 8th, 2008 4:51 pm ET

i read the NASA news public briefs about the shovel, dirt ,and ovens.
Interestingly, i thought i had read about the cumpiness of the dirt being a factor as to why the dirt did not trickle into the oven. If that is the case, why can't the dirt be heated sitting above the oven..then attempt to put into the slivers.....clumpiness to me would mean some type of possible H2O there....just thinking like a housemom..;-). No, i'm not scientific, just fascinated.

Franko   June 8th, 2008 8:47 pm ET

NASA should have contracted out the design of the oven.
Anyone who has baked a loaf of bread ?

Simpler would have been to allow a cockroaches a ride to Mars.
If the cockroaches multiply . .. ..

Aussie Jane   June 9th, 2008 3:36 am ET

With Kibo and the shuttle now attached to the I.S.S., I wonder what percentage more increased is the space station in the night sky. I remember seeing it race across the sky in Northeastern Australia.

Dennis C. in Virginia Beach   June 10th, 2008 9:55 am ET

The most amazing part of this is sharing it with children and friends, and knowing it is a unique moment in time that will never be repeated. The NASA Spaceflight website also lists the altitude of the ISS as it passes over and this is a great time to emphasize humankind's ability to cooperate with each other and achieve goals; as this (truly) tiny lifeboat of humanity passes a minimum of 249 miles overhead. For those who are unable to travel to the coast of Florida and watch a Space Shuttle launch, this is the next best BIG example a peaceful use of technology by which we will all eventually benefit.

s callahan   June 13th, 2008 5:37 pm ET

Hoped to see a log about the 'trailing break' on the return home but found nothing....please let them know us crazy faith observers are praying for their safe return home.

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