Look Up, Montana. Int’l Space Station Visible Now Thru February 1
Montana is a great place for stargazing. I mean, our state nickname basically encourages you to look up. Once you get a few miles away from urban areas, the night sky really pops. It's one thing I immediately notice whenever I hang out at my brother's farm, located about an hour from any big city lights.
Two parks in Montana are designated International Dark Sky Sanctuaries. One is Glacier National Park, and the other is Medicine Rocks State Park near Ekalaka in southeastern Montana. As light pollution continues to grow, the dark sky sanctuary designation will help attract visitors looking for pitch-black skies for photography purposes or stargazing.
The International Space Station will be visible in Montana now through Feb 1.
According to NASA's Spot the Station website, we will have a great opportunity to see the space station for the next ten days or so (weather permitting) as it zooms over Big Sky Country. The exact time varies from day to day but it usually happens between around 6 pm and 8 pm. See the chart below with the exact times.
No telescope is necessary.
NASA says the International Space Station should be clearly visible to the naked eye, appearing as a fairly bright, quick-moving star. I'll probably bust out the binoculars for a slightly better view. For the next couple of days, it will appear from the west/southwest horizon and arc over the sky to the opposite direction. On most of the days, it passes over in just 2 - 4 minutes. One of the better days to catch a view of the ISS might be on Saturday, January 22 when it will pass directly over Billings (90 degrees).
Meet the man who spent 7 months aboard the ISS, on Jan 28th in Billings.
If you like to nerd out on space stuff, catch astronaut Terry Virts at National Geographic Live, View From Above on January 28th at the Alberta Bair Theater. You can find more details about his experience in space and the upcoming show HERE.
LOOK: TV Locations in Every State