The International Space Station (ISS) is visible in our sky again, and there are lots of opportunities to see it.

Recently it has only been visible in the hours before sunrise, which meant getting up early or staying up very late if you wanted to see it, but as we reach mid-May the ISS is visible on many different passes each evening and into the early morning too, making this an ideal time to look for this amazing technological achievement which has now been in space for 20 years, and has been home to hundreds of different astronauts from dozens of different countries.

If you've seen the ISS before you can skip this bit and go straight to the dates and times below, but if you've never seen it before then you are looking for a bright "star" that rises in the west, arcs across the sky - from right to left as you're standing there looking at the sky - and then sets or fades from view over in the east.

The movement is the key: if you're looking at a bright light standing still in the sky that's a star or a planet, not the ISS: many people will be mistaking the bright planets Jupiter and Saturn for the ISS at the moment because they are "Morning Stars" low in the east before sunrise, but they won't move as you look at them.

Go out on the following dates, just before the times given, and face the west.

Eventually you'll see a "star" rising up from the horizon, heading left.

This will be the ISS. Some "passes" are higher and brighter than others, but even the faint, low passes are fascinating to watch when you realise you're looking at a real life spaceship, with a crew of astronauts onboard, flying through the constellations at 17,000 mph.

  • Date: May 14
  • Times: 00:16; 01:53; 03:29; 05:05
  • Date: May 15
  • Times: 01:05; 02:42; 04:18; 22:41
  • Date: May 16
  • Times: 00:18; 01:54; 03:31; 21:54; 23:30
  • Date: May 17
  • Times: 01:07; 02:43; 21:07; 22:43
  • Date: May 18
  • Times: 00:20; 01:56; 03:32; 21:56; 23:32
  • Date: May 19
  • Times: 01:09; 02:45; 21:08; 22:45
  • Date: May 20
  • Times: 00:21; 01:58; 21:57; 23:34