My Heavens! Look up there!

When teaching Astronomy, there can be a lot of information about objects that the student’s can’t really see or appreciate themselves, and looking at Hubble images, as beautiful as they are, doesn’t provide much context. However, being able to point out satellites, especially the ISS, and say “that is an object we put there”, really grabs their attention.

But how do you know where and when to look?

There is a free online tool called Heavens Above that takes your location and predicts bright satellite flyovers. You can find out when the next ISS flyover will be, as well as Iridium satellite flares, Hubble (if you live closer to the equator than I), and other bright satellites.

Heavens above has been around for a while, and is used a lot by amateur astronomers and satellite watchers, but it is not widely known outside those groups (though it still gets tens of thousands of hits a day!). The site isn’t flashy, but it is full of information.

You can create an account on the site and save multiple locations (home, school, cottage etc), or just select your time zone and location from a Google map without logging in. Check it out.

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