If you’re in the Denver area Tuesday, October 8, 2019, get outside and look for the International Space Station (ISS) just after 7:30 PM. We’ll have a brilliant, close pass as the ISS flies almost directly overhead, about 250 miles above us.
The space station will rise in our northwest at 7:29, becoming visible shortly after. It gains height above our horizon slowly at first, appearing just 14° up at 7:32, but 26° up at 7:33 and more than 50° up at 7:34, gaining brightness as it climbs. After that, it streaks past the zenith, the highest point in our sky, racing towards the southeastern horizon. Its speed and brightness approaching the zenith will make the ISS unmistakable. (See chart.)
By 7:35 PM, the ISS will appear lower and dimmer as its distance increases from us. Aboard the space station, astronauts looking out will see the Denver’s lights beneath them, as the suns drops lower in their sky. As they orbit, they’ll see the sun set around 7:37 our time—we will see this as an eclipse of the ISS, as the station quickly darkens while entering the Earth’s shadow.