See the International Space Station in night sky this week

August 06, 2012|By Scott Dance

Opportunities to watch the International Space Station fly over Maryland arise in the coming days.

Viewing opportunities only occur sporadically, based on the spacecraft’s orbit route and its position relative to the sun and Earth. They often occur during daylight hours or when most of us are asleep, and the space station's appearance is often too faint to be seen.

When it is visible, the space station zips across the sky, appearing as a bright, steadily moving light. 

Here are three viewing opportunities this week that fall during normal waking hours:

  • Look to the southwest at 9:54 p.m. tonight. The space station will reach almost directly overhead by 9:57 p.m. and then disappear over the northeast horizon at 9:59 p.m.
  • At 9:01 p.m. Tuesday, the space station will appear on the south-southwest horizon, moving halfway up the horizon as it moves toward the east-northeast until 9:07 p.m.
  • It will appear in the west-southwest sky at 8:51 p.m. Thursday, rising about three-quarters of the way up the horizon as it moves to the northeast, disappearing at 8:57 p.m.

On board are some fresh crew members. Three crew members left, including NASA astronaut Jim Pettit, and three joined, including NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, who is an alumna of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Have a weather question? E-mail me at or tweet to @MdWeather.

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