HERE is the latest Skywatch column written by Stuart Atkinson. 

The International Space Station ("ISS") is back on view in our sky this coming week, but unfortunately it will be crossing the morning sky in the early hours, so you'll have to either stay up very late or get up very early to see it.

If you're already a seasoned ISS-spotter you'll know what you're looking for, so you can just skip ahead to the times and dates given below.

If you haven't seen the ISS before what is it, what does it look like, and how do you see it in the sky?

The ISS is essentially a huge scientific laboratory orbiting the Earth like a satellite.

Astronauts from the US, Russia, Europe and other countries work on it for months at a time, carrying out experiments and observing the Earth.

We can see the ISS in the sky because it reflects sunlight, and appears as a bright blue-white "star" that crosses the sky slowly and silently.

Unlike airplanes, which have blinking lights, the ISS appears as a single, steady light, crossing the sky from west to east. Sometimes it's high in the sky, sometimes very low.

Sometimes it appears strikingly bright, brighter than any star or planet, other times it's only just visible to the naked eye at all.

But it is fascinating to watch it sliding silently through the sky and thinking "There are people on that.

If you go out on the following dates, at the following times, and look to the west, you'll see the ISS rising up from the horizon, looking like a bright star.

It will then arc from west to east (right to left as you're standing there) before fading away as it moves into Earth's shadow.

  • Sept 2: 03.39 and 05.15
  • Sept 3: 02.53 and 04.36
  • Sept 4: 03.39 and 05.14
  • Sept 5: 02.52 and 04.25
  • Sept 6: 03.38 and 05.13
  • Sept 7: 04.24