News & Politics

International Space Station Will Be Visible Over Washington This Week

Look up in the sky Monday through Wednesday and catch it.

Washington, as seen from space. Photograph by Chris Hadfield via NASA.

If you look up in the sky during tonight, tomorrow, and Wednesday evening and focus, you just might catch the International Space Station flying over Washington. NASA says the station will be making its latest flyby over the area tonight at 7:03 PM.

NASA projects the station will be visible for about six minutes at an elevation of 83 degrees. It will enter sight from the northwest and depart in the southeast. Sightings should also be possible Tuesday and Wednesday, but for a briefer amount of time.

The station has actually been orbiting over our region since last Monday and passes by ever few weeks, NASA says, but conditions under which it can be seen by the naked eye are rare. It can only be spotted in early morning or early evening when the sun is below the horizon but still illuminating the station’s body.

NASA also has a tool recommending the best vantage points from dozens of locations around DC and the suburbs. For those who miss tonight’s show, the space station will reappear Tuesday at 7:54 PM and Wednesday at 7:06 PM.

While the International Space Station will appear as a blinking dot as it zips over the local skies, the views are undoubtedly better in the opposite direction. The photo above of the Washington area was taken from the station in February by its then-commanding officer, Royal Canadian Air Force Colonel Chris Hadfield, whose space antics famously included a zero-gravity cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Hadfield, now back on Planet Earth, will be signing copies of his new book Saturday at the National Air and Space Museum.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.