How to spot the International Space Station in Cape Town

We'll get through this. CapeTownTogether
Follow our social channels for useful news,
daily local champions + find moments of joy
+27(0)72 350 2062
Ideas Cartel - 113 Loop Street

How to spot the International Space Station in Cape Town

The ISS will be crossing our morning skies throughout July

Last update: 14 July 2020

Apart from the moon and the sun, the International Space Station will be the brightest thing in Cape Town’s sky this month. The ISS is a little brighter than a star and circles Earth every 90 minutes, letting its crew see 16 sunrises and sunsets a day. But it can be difficult to spot. Here’s how you can catch a glimpse of the International Space Station this July. 

Until 23 July, the International Space station will orbit above Cape Town.  Each sighting is only a short glimpse, between one to six minutes long. 



Time visible

Where to look

Tues, 14 July


< 1 min


Sat, 18 July


1 min



Mon, 20 July


6 min



Tues, 21 July 06:14 4 min NNW
Wed, 22 July 05:29 1 min NE
Wed, 22 July 07:03 6 min WNW
Thurs, 23 July 06:17 4 min WNW

We can see the International Space Station for the same reason we can see the moon: the light of the sun is reflected off its surface. However, unlike the moon, the Space Station isn’t bright enough to see during the day. 

Because of this, as well as the fact that it is constantly moving, there’s a relatively small window for sightings. It all depends on the time of day that the Space Station happens to be orbiting overhead. 

What you’re ultimately looking for isn’t a bird or plane, but a giant orbital laboratory floating 408km above Earth. The ISS serves as a lab that allows crew members to test everything from biology and astronomy to experiments for prolonged exposure of life in space. 

The ISS remains visible in the sky for fairly short stretches of time, as it moves in and out of the Earth's shadow. 

Keep an eye out for something that resembles a plane, but which is moving much faster (28,000km/h, to be precise), or a very bright and unblinking star. 


Tick off a once-in-a-lifetime experience when you view a partial solar eclipse in Cape Town.

Stay up to date with lockdown news

Save a buck or two with a restaurant special for every day of the week.

Go hiking at select national parks.


Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of what’s happening in the city, ‘burbs and dorpies. Join our newsletter and get quick access on the go by adding us to your mobile home screen for the ultimate guide to discoveries in Cape Town.

Follow and like us on TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagramPinterest for updates.


Cape Town Events Calendar
September 2021
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30

Magnet Theatre_Snapped3What’s on at the Baxter Theatre

Snapped is a companion piece to the hugely successful, "I turned away and she was gone"

Uber Go Cape Town We asked you where you would go with a ...

Your answers were delightful (plus Uber Go explained)

Wolfkop Camping Villages and Nature ReserveWolfkop holiday specials: glamp for up ...

Plus 9 activities also at half-price: bodyboard the Olifants, hike, see rock paintings ...

Escape Room Game Cape TownPlay Cape Town’s original Live Escape ...

The door closes. You have 60 minutes to get out...

Framed online escape room game HintHunt AfricaTeam building for virtual teams

Online team building every Wednesday + Thursday

Wonderdal Tree of Light Have the birthday party your child ...

Includes a colourful Amuki cake, party bag + 7 edu-zones to explore

Oasis Association Claremont coffee shopDo Good

3 ways to do it at Oasis: shop, donate or take your recycling there

Samadhi HouseUber luxury Cape Town villa at an ...

House, cottage, tennis court, gym, pool + incredible views at an excellent special

Maker's LandingMaker’s Landing, the Waterfront’s ...

Cakes too beautiful to eat, short rib dumplings and gorgeous harbour views

Zsa Zsa Cape Town Craving a wild night out? Zsa Zsa Cape ...

Nightly live performances, theatrical cocktails + decadent menu

Leopards LeapLeopards Leap serves succulent ...

It’s family friendly, has a harvest table, plus there’s a big lawn to play on

Beach barA beach bar in Paarl!

Pizza, beach vibes, cocktails, and stunning views, the recipe for a perfect day

Gabriëlskloof Wine EstateReaders special: 10% off at ...

It’s relaxed, there’s space for kids to play + dogs are welcome

Kiff Kombis Tours Kiff Kombi local special: fall in love ...

Travel, eat, drink with friends in a vibey kombi, driver included (20% off price)

Chard Grill & Wine Bar kitchenWeekly burger specials plus 2 happy ...

R99 for two burgers and R30 for all wine, beer and gin

Hermanus Guest HouseBook a luxe Hermanus stay on this ...

Colourful, central + opposite a gorgeous (safe) tidal pool

Distillers & Union Make your unique brand of gin

And there’s more: vodka, rum, fiery ginger beer plus the chance to tour this working ...

LeMottetastingVirtual and on-site wine tastings at ...

Or do this specialised La Motte wine-tasting virtually

Pierneef food and wine pairing 2Food and Wine Pairing at La Motte

Discover a match made in the divine tasting room of this Franschhoek Estate

B-Well_Festival_of_Yellow_South_AfricaThe Festival of Yellow, celebrating the ...

Every year they lighten the mood and brighten the province

GiveawaysTravel Tips