Visibility vs. Latitude, the ISS and Ground Track Information

From: Tom Wagner (
Date: Thu Aug 10 2006 - 18:15:01 EDT

  • Next message: Ted Molczan: "RE: Visibility vs. Latitude, the ISS and Ground Track Information"

    The answer to this may already be available on the Net but I often prefer to 
    do some things the long way and would like feed back about my method here.
    The ground track of the ISS shown in Heavens-Above includes the area that 
    can be seen from the ISS as it passes over your coordinate. I measured the 
    radius of that circle and estimated its size in degrees of latitude. I then 
    converted that to miles using a "distance between two points" calculator. 
    This allowed me to determine that the northern and southern most horizons as 
    seen from the ISS should be about 726 miles (1,168.38 km) farther toward the 
    poles than the latitude 52 N or 52 S. I am rounding its orbital inclination 
    to 52 degrees.
    Finally, I determined that they can never see anything N or S of about 63 
    degrees or so. Therefore no observer N or S of those latitudes will ever see 
    the ISS come over the horizon.
    Will someone tell me if my estimates are correct?
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