International Space Station can be seen in the clear skies over our cottages at Poulmarvezen near Ploerdut because they are incredibly free from light pollution. On clear nights, (of which there are many), you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye, as clear as clear can be. Thousand of stars sparkle like diamonds. If you are interested in the night sky, bring your telescope, or your camera and tripod to indulge in the new sport of astral photography.
Sightings of the International Space Station are always just after dusk or just before dawn, as you need the sun just off stage to illuminate the ISS against a dark sky. As the ISS whizzes round the earth so quickly, some evenings and/or dawns you get to shots at it. You can find out when it will be passing overhead our cottages in advance here, (which I have set up for Brest, our nearest reference point)
If you’ve never done this before, it’s very exciting . I always get out a few minutes before as you can see the pathway sooner, and longer, than the table says. Eyes looking to the West you suddenly spot it, it’s probably been there for a while, maybe the occasional shooting star has distracted you. But there it is, clearly making progress against the backdrop of stars. Funny to think there are people up there. It tracks across the sky, you expect it to go in a straight line, (actually it does), but part way through its transit it veers off alarmingly in a different direction. It’s just a trick of the earth’s geometry. Make a note of the time when you first saw it. And when it disappeared out of sight, usually because it has dropped out of reach of the setting (or rising) sun’s rays.
You can then quickly nip indoors to check where the International Space Station was at these times here
On one occasion, which was nothing unusual, I’d had it in sight for 8 minutes. A quick check revealed it had been mid-Atlantic when I first saw it, and over The Crimea when I lost sight of it. Hard to get your head round travelling at that speed. On another occasion it went directly overhead. The above link is to a realtime positioning of the International Space Station, but you can play around with it in all sorts of ways, I recommend you have a go.
You do need clear skies to spot the International Space Station , (no cloud cover, and no light pollution), which we can usually offer at our holiday cottages. Use the first link above to find out when the best sightings are.
Update 9th March 2016
Tin Peake if you reading this from up there … Hi Tim, give us a wave.