ISS sighting track
The International Space Station track for 8 September, via astroviewer.net.
  • The International Space Station will cross over part of South Africa on Wednesday night in just the right spot, at just the right time, for a good viewing.
  • Johannesburg and surrounds are particularly in luck, and Bloemfontein should also have a clear view.
  • Cape Town is pretty much out of luck.
  • You'll want to start looking up a little before 18:40.
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Parts of South Africa will have a great opportunity to see the International Space Station (ISS) streaking overhead on Wednesday night, 8 September.

The ISS will pass over Gauteng at the right time, in the right spot, and with the right weather forecast, for those in Johannesburg and Pretoria to get a particularly good view.

Bloemfontein is also in luck – but Cape Town and Durban not so much.

The ISS has been passing over South Africa low on the horizon for good viewing. At anything under 40 degrees, Nasa says, your odds aren't great, because the landscape and buildings tend to get in the way. Light pollution is also a bigger problem lower in the sky.

But on Wednesday, the ISS will max out at 71 degrees above the horizon in Johannesburg, and at 60 degrees in Bloemfontein, as opposed to 30 degrees in Durban.

For the far more westerly Cape Town, the sun will get in the way.


The viewing window will be 7 minutes long, starting at 18:48.

In both Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, the glint of the space station will come from low in the southwest. In Johannesburg it will disappear again low on the northeast horizon; in Bloemfontein it will travel to north-northeast. 

As of late on Wednesday morning, weather forecasts were for clear skies above Gauteng and the Free State.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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