The following was taken from the Johannesburg Planetarium’s newsletter (28/08/09)
The International Space Station (ISS) passes directly over South Africa on Sunday evening (Aug 30th) – possibly accompanied by the shuttle Discovery! Discovery is scheduled to launch Friday evening (SA time) to deliver crew and equipment to the orbiting station, but has been delayed twice this week due to a technical problem. If the Discovery shuttle does launch today, it may be visible as a fainter “star” traveling with the ISS on Sunday as it approaches for docking on Monday – we don’t often get to see this, so look out for it!
The orbit of the ISS takes it over southern Africa a few times each month. On Sunday, it passes directly over Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Gauteng, moving towards Zimbabwe. Start looking for it at about 6:48pm if you’re near Cape Town, 6:51pm for Gauteng.
Look towards the south-west, for a very bright “star” that is moving slowly up over your head, if you are under the path of the ISS.
If you’re to the north of the path, the ISS will appear in the south-south-west, and will move upwards across the sky to your left. If you’re to the south of the path, the ISS will appear in the west-south-west, and will move upwards across the sky to your right.
The ISS will be visible from all of South Africa – map of where to look is at www.planetarium.co.za