IF YOU'RE an early riser or insomniac you have a last few chances to see the International Space Station (ISS) crossing the pre-dawn sky this week. Then it is lost to us for a while, before returning to our evening skies in a few weeks.

To see the ISS just go outside on the following dates, at the times given, look to the west, and wait. Soon you'll see a bright ‘star’ rising up from the horizon, which will then arc southwards. This is the space station. Unlike a plane it doesn't flash, or blink, it just shines with a steady light.

Those details: January 23, 5.03am and 6.36am; 24th, 5.49am and 7.23am; 25th, 5.02am and 6.35am; 26th, 5.48am.

Careful, don't mistake Jupiter for the space station. Currently that giant planet is low in the west before dawn, but you can tell it apart from the ISS because it stands still while the ISS is in constant movement, slowly gliding towards the east.

If you have a pair of binoculars use them on the space station. They'll make it look much brighter and more colourful too.

Stuart Atkinson

Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal