Brightest ISS Pass of 2012!

Ok, I know it’s kind of a misleading title because it’s only 4 days into the new year but still, at magnitude -4.0 tonight’s flyover of the ISS was one of the brightest I’ve ever seen, this year or any other!

At 6:28 p.m. CST, the ISS rose in the northeast and passed nearly exactly overhead, steadily moving southeast between the Moon and Jupiter in the evening sky. Even with a waxing gibbous Moon shining full blast it was still extremely bright, as my photo above shows.

This was a 20 second exposure taken with a Nikon D7000, 18mm lens @ f/9, ISO640. Edited in Photoshop.

Along the upper left another faint trail can be seen; this may have in fact been SkyMed-1, an observation satellite operated by the Italian Space Agency.

The ISS is currently manned by 6 international astronauts. Traveling at 17,500 mph at an altitude of about 225 nautical miles, it orbits the Earth 16 times a day. Find out when it will pass by your location (and where to look for it) on here OR, if you use Twitter, be sure to follow @Twisst to get alerts whenever the ISS will be flying over your location!

Image © Jason Major. All rights reserved.


  1. Jeff Barani says:

    Great shot Jason 😉
    Congratulations !!
    Jeff Barani from Vence (France)


  2. Lauri says:

    Love this shot! It’s always a thrill to see the ISS. To catch it on camera…even better!

    PS I love my “I’d Rather Be in Space” teeshirt. My kids read it, however, and said “Mission Accomplished, Mom”. *eyeroll*


  3. Very cool shot! Thanks for sharing, Jason!


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