How to spot the International Space Station – Our favorite app and tips

If you are looking for a fun night time activity for the family, just look to the sky! The International Space Station can regularly be seen with the naked eye at night. With our app recommendation, ISS Spotter, you’ll know how to spot the International Space Station with the exact time and area to look.

Make your next campfire a little more interesting (and dare I say even educational), by viewing the International space station as you roast those marshmallows.

Can you see the International Space Station without a telescope?

Yes! that’s what make it so great. Without any special equipment, you can easy find and view the ISS as it passes over you. Just be sure that you have selected a night with a clear sky. Clouds will unfortunately hinder your ability to see the space station.

What does the International Space Station look like?

To the naked eye, the ISS will look like a large white dot (like a big star) slowly arching through the sky.

How long can I see the International Space Station?

On nights when the Space Station is visible in your area, you can typically expect to see the space station for about 2-5 minutes.

How do I know when to look for the ISS?

Our favorite app is ISS Spotter for iOS. It’s free, simple, and straight to the point. The app uses either your saved location or current location to provide you with a list of upcoming viewing opportunities. It even gives you the start point, end point, and angle in which you will be able to see the pass.

Click here to get the app

Looking for a smoke free way to enjoy a fire in your backyard? Click here for our picks.


Doug is a dad, designer, maker, and a kid at heart.