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See the space station AND space shuttle tonight!


These times were only accurate for the day this post was written, which was yesterday, Wednesday. At the end of this post you’ll be told how to find out when and where you can see the space station from now on. Thanks!
Tonight Cumbrian skywatchers (and actually skywatchers all across the UK!) will have a fantastic and very rare opportunity to see two spaceships flying through the night sky! No, not UFOs, we’re not about to be invaded by Little Green Men! Tonight we can see the huge INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION, and the space shuttle DISCOVERY, flying together through the sky.
And not just once – but twice!
Seeing them is easy: all you have to do is go outside at either 8.30pm or 10.05pm, look to the west – and wait. After a few minutes you’ll see a pair of “stars” rising up from the horizon, close together, one very bright, one a lot fainter. The brighter one is the space station, the fainter one is the space shuttle. The pair will then move across the sky from right to left, from west to east.
NO TELESCOPE is needed to see this, not even binoculars, it’s a purely naked eye event. Binoculars will help you see the two spacecraft more clearly, but you don’t need them.
This is a very rare opportunity to see something very special in the night sky, and with a good weather forecast for tonight hopefully lots of people will get to see it…
… and tomorrow I can *guarantee* that there will be lots of reports of UFOs crossing the sky above Cumbria! But the truth is even more amazing – people will have seen not flying saucers built by aliens, but real spaceships built, and flown, by human beings, just like them. 🙂
UPDATE: I’m absolutely delighted so many people are coming here, but I can’t answer every “When can I see it next?” query or comment. Because I’ve had so many comments and emails asking for advice on how to see the International Space Station in the sky, I’ve updated this blog’s  “Space Station” page, turning it into a “Beginner’s Guide” to space station spotting.  You can go there by clicking on the “Space Station” tab at the top there, or by clicking on the direct link below…https://cumbriansky.wordpress.com/space-station-spotting


37 Responses

  1. I missed them at 8.30. Was out there with clear skies. Anyone know the trajectory at 10.05? How fast do they travel across the sky and how long are they visible for?

    Any help gratefully received.

    • was out at 830 in seasclale heading towards sellefield on beach looked back towards seasclale if you look towards the bright satelite u wont be able to miss them vissible for a couple of minutes look like planes without flashing lights

  2. I saw them just after 8.30 in Durham, but only for a few seconds. They appeared towards the south and moved in a northerly direction and they were faily low in the sky. They travelled about as fast as a plane their motion is different. Sorry Im no good with technical terms – just describe what I see. If you havent already done so check out this web page: http://spaceflight1.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/cities/region.cgi?country=United_Kingdom&region=England

    Hope this helps

  3. Everyone… please check-out the link in my Links table to “Heavens Above”… you can use that site to work out the times the ISS will be visible. It’s set for kendal so you’ll have to enter your own location from the database if you want timings accurate for where you are. 🙂

  4. Thanks everyone. Trees are too high here, sadly.

  5. The space shuttle and space station were vivid and amazing in the sky over Nantucket at 8:07 tonight. Couldn’t make out two separate entities, but it was really beautiful.

  6. I saw them at 8:07 tonight here in NH. I was wondering if anyone else saw what looked like a glow and then a white ring appeared around the space shuttle for just a few seconds? What was that? It was an amazing site!

    • Rachel,

      We saw something around the shuttle tonight as well (in Nashua, NH). It was beautiful but also a little unnerving. Not sure what it was. Hope everything is OK with them.

    • Yes! We saw a luminescent effect around the shuttle for about 5-10 sec. Like an explosion… (I’m on the Québec / Vermont border) I would like to know what it was??!!! Thanks!

    • We saw a burst or explosion and then the glow…I still cannot figure out what that was.

    • i live in leeds in the uk and we two little white lites in the sky moving about as fast as a plane but the then a few mins later in the other direction we saw a bright orange glow moving at the same speed they all apeared and then disapeared.

  7. We saw them tonight at 9:40 pm in Michigan. It was an awesome sight! Very bright! Wow! it was exciting!

  8. Hi we are 30 min west of Ft Worth Texas USA and was able to see both of them perfect! It was a terrific show! They were about 30 deg above the horizon and steadily moving in a NE direction. We will look out for the 10:05 pass over.

    • Missed them last night… thought landing was delayed we would not be able to see. 😦 Do you know if we’ll be able to see them tonight from Fort Worth? Time? Where to look? Be able to see shuttle coming in? Time? Thanks!

  9. Amazing!….managed to see them despite the cloud.

  10. I just found out that the glow was probably the thruster re-positioning the shuttle for landing tonight. This information makes me feel better, but I swear that I saw something move away from the shuttle after the initial ‘explosion’

  11. Guys… I just posted about what the “glow” actually was… hope you all have umbrellas handy… 🙂


  12. Hoping to see these tonight, Thu. 9/10/09… since shuttle did not land last evening. Confused on whether they’ll be visible from Fort Worth, TX and if so, what time and which direction should we look? Hope we did not miss… kids will be so sad. Thanks for any information!

  13. it wasnt at 8 30 it was at 9 and i just saw it. it was from the south and it went towards the east quite fast then suddenly stopped, it seemed as if the smaller light was still moving slowly towards the bigger one, can still see it actually, just still though now

  14. I dont get it… was it visible across North West England tonight at about 9pm? If not, then not too sure what it was I saw! Please confirm

  15. Flew right over Hillboro nh in a hurrry

  16. We saw them as well, here in south wales coming from the west and heading east, AMAZING, but about 5 mins before them heading north to south was something similar but fainter, could it have been a satelitte, does anyone know?

  17. I live in Oldham. I seen the bright orange glow Mark from leeds mentioned. I photgraphed it on my phone at 20:53. The glow was heading in a south easterly direction i think. I watched it for about 3-4 minutes. Never seen anything like it before. Did anyone else see this? was this iss?

  18. I live in Caerphilly and caught sightings on two occasions 21:16 and 21:32 . First in a WsW direction the second more of a southerly direction. will remember this memorable moment for a long time to come. Amazing.

  19. saw it over huddersfield england thursday evening fantastic could see it with naked eye

  20. can anyone tell me the next veiwing please

  21. Looked out in the night sky at the time “Fred” the weather man from( Look North)said & there they were.. the space shuttle then the space station minutes later..
    Fantastic!! the sky was very clear over Barrow-in-Furness a great memory !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Had a clear view of the space station at 8.15pm Sat night. We have a clear 180 degree sight looking south station was in view from th south west to south east…magic..anyone know when next we can see it.

  23. Anyone wanting to know when they can see the space station again, please read the following:

    Recently, I’ve had so many comments and emails asking for advice on how to see the International Space Station in the sky that I’ve updated the “Space Station” page, turning it into a “Beginner’s Guide” to space station spotting. You can go there by clicking on the “Space Station” tab at the top there, or by clicking on the direct link below…


  24. Hi fellow star-gazers!!! I live in Carmarthenshire (deepest, darkest Wales!) and at 8.12pm I saw a faint *star* moving across the sky from W to E. Unfortunately, there was a bit of cloud cover and it disappeared. But I continued to look up and I casually glanced back on myself (to the W) and saw a larger, much brighter *star* moving rapidly across the sky! A UFO!! I thought and it wasnt until I went frantically googling that I came across this blog and realised I had just witnessed BOTH the Shuttle AND the Space Station. Im so excited. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU “Cumbrian Sky” person!! 🙂

  25. Went to the NASA site to see what time the second sighting tonight would be. And got myself a great view of the UFO again – well, the Space Station. It was very bright and moved very fast across the sky. BRILLIANT!! Thanks again for your wicked site because I wouldnt have known which space machine I was seeing !!

  26. This is indeed an excellent site!! Ive been able to see the space station most nights given clear skies thanks to the information on here. Last night was particularly clear and had an excellent sighting – very bright. Thanks so much for all the useful and interesting info, you have restored my interesnt in watching the skies!

  27. Saw a beautiful burning glow, almost commit-like, around 8:10pm EST in Connecticut, looking to the South-West between Plum Island and Long Island, New York. Amazing to see!

  28. Thanks for the time zone info! Or am I an idiot for thinking that might make a difference in seeing the stationa nd shuttle?

  29. I hear allians will be flying above wildwood florida…the villages…well,most of florida,most of north carolina,south carolina,kanses,new york city,new york!Please reply to ask if it is going to be near you,I will be on the coputer for ever…so ask now!(:

  30. Saw it twice to night with the shuttle on first sighting behind and on second sighting in front can anyone explain. Ireland.

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