Monday, September 23, 2019

See the Space Station Tonight

James Darpinian's See a Satellite Tonight can tell you when the International Space Station is flying over your house. It can also tell you where to look in the sky if you want to see it for yourself.

Share your location with See a Satellite Tonight and you can view an interactive 3D Cesium Earth, showing your current location highlighted on the globe. The globe also shows an animated ISS passing over your home. The map menu (running down the left-hand side) tells you at what time tonight the ISS will be flying overhead. It also includes a few options which allow you to see the next times the ISS will be overhead tonight and tomorrow night.

And the magic doesn't stop there!

If you click on the 'See where it will appear in your sky' and you can view the track of the ISS overlaid on top of the Google Maps Street View panorama of your house. A little animation plays showing the International Space Station moving over your house - exactly where it will be flying tonight. This means that you now know exactly when and where to look in the night sky tonight if you want to see the ISS with your naked eye.

And the magic still doesn't stop there!

See a Satellite Tonight also includes a weather forecast which tells you how cloudy it will be tonight. Unfortunately for me London will be 100% cloudy both tonight and tomorrow, so See a Satellite Tonight warns me that clouds may block my view of the ISS.

Back in 2009 a Japanese website called ToriSat had a very similar application which showed the position of the ISS on top of Google Maps Street View. ToriSat has since transformed into SpaceStation AR, a mobile phone app (possibly without the Street View option). You can read my brief Maps Mania review of Torisat (and a video of it in operation) here.

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