Want to see the International Space Station above Suffolk? Here’s when – and how
- Credit: NASA
As the Suffolk nights grow longer, we give you the timings you need to do some stargazing - and a chance to see the International Space Station move through the sky.
As we get closer to the winter solstice on December 21, the opportunities to get outside and see some of the incredible sights of space become more frequent.
Stars, constellations and planets have been tracked by astronomers and navigators for centuries - but you can also see some man-made objects in the sky as well.
The International Space Station is regularly visible in the sky, sometimes even with the naked eye.
By using data shared online by NASA to monitor this movement, you can see its orbiting base too.
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What so I need to do to see the ISS?
To make sure you know where to look in the sky. You will need a compass.
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All sightings will occur within a few hours before or after sunrise or sunset, as this is the optimum viewing period - because the sun reflects off the space station and contrasts against the darker sky.
The sky will need to be clear and you will be able to see much more if you are in an area with little or no light pollution.
Some objects do not require a telescope to be seen, including the ISS - but it may be seen much more clearly and easier to track if you have one.
According to the NASA data, the longest the station will appear in the sky for will be on December 5 - for five minutes from 4.38pm.
Check out our table to see when you could spot the ISS in the next fortnight.
To understand the Max Height, Appears and Disappears column, remember the horizon is 0 degrees, and directly above your head is 90 degrees.
Advice from NASA says if you hold your fist at arm's length and place your fist resting on the horizon - as a guide, the top of your fist will be about 10 degrees, so use this to estimate where to look.
The longer the ISS will be visible for, the longer an arc it will form as it crosses the sky.
If you live north of Ipswich, expect the station to appear slightly later in the sky, and slightly earlier in the south.
The two nearest locations with detailed information on when to see the ISS are Newmarket and Halstead. You can see their tables of information here.