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. 


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 2020
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

African eagle day toursE-bike your way in and around ...

E-bike between vineyards with stops for wine, cheese, and chocolate truffles

Loch Lynne PicnicBring the kids (and even pets) for a ...

Fresh baguettes, local cheeses, idyllic views, live music and pet-friendly hikes

africamps7AfriCamps: Discover South Africa with ...

From the pet-friendly Stanford Hills to a camp located on a large fishing dam in Limpopo

trail fit sa Discover a new Western Cape hiking ...

Find a secret waterfall or meet sleeping bats in a 150m long cave

Watershed 2Known favourites and new discoveries at ...

825 square-meters of the best in African art, craft, design, and now beauty

flower workshopCelebrate everything floral with a ...

Prepare for a day of wildflower foraging, botanical cocktails and an edible flower feast

CPT philharmonic orchestra The Cape Town Philharmonic is bringing ...

Welcome in Beethoven, Mozart, Gounod and more into your homes

sundown-sessionsPrepare to be blown away by SA’s top ...

A night of psychological illusions and mind-bending tricks

Biscuit MillSay hello to the new Neighbourgoods ...

Fresh produce, handmade jewellery, locally designed clothes and delicious food

UCOOK 1Cook along with top Cape Town chefs and ...

Invite Karen Dudley, Franck Dangereux, and Reuben Riffel into your kitchen in these ...

cape point vineyard 3Enjoy an idyllic weekend walk at Cape ...

Get a 360-degree view of the mountain, the fynbos, the vineyards and the ocean

robin_hoodLunch is sorted at Robin Hood Burger ...

Robin Hood in Kloof Street has basket lunch deals every day

The grill father The Grillfather is back with a hearty ...

Enjoy their 2.8kg pure beef patty and backyard braai vibes

Flea MarketMilnerton Flea Market: a treasure trove ...

From antiques and trinkets to a variety of second-hand items

spring_2Bradwell Spring: Vredehoek’s fresh ...

It’s the second formalised spring water collection point built by the City

spring_1Newlands Spring: Cape Town’s ...

Rules are in place to ensure everyone’s safety

Biscuit MillYour favourite Biscuit Mill vendors are ...

Browse your favourite vendors for food, crafts and clothing at the weekly market

Virtual Vertical KM Series 2Conquer three mountains in 12-weeks in ...

Three mountains, three routes and three races to win in the Virtual Vertical KM Series

Dino_moranDino Moran is bringing you an epic ...

Don’t miss his deep and melodic progressive house magic with stunning visual effects

VW BARONS 2Barons Cape Town VW is open to the ...

Quicker services and courtesy cars for essential workers

Om RevolutionSlow flow mobile yoga with Om Revolution

You don’t have to go to a yoga studio to stay active

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips