The International Space Station zooms over Montana all the time, considering it orbits Earth every 90 minutes. Sometimes I happen to be outside looking up at night when it does and I always pause to watch as it silently flies overhead at the incomprehensible speed of 17,500 miles per hour. It passes by in mere minutes on its high-speed whirl around the Earth, 250 miles into space.

Don't forget to wave to ISS. Credit Canva
Don't forget to wave to the ISS. Credit Canva

Show the kids. They'll think you're smart.

I always point it out to my kids, who seem moderately interested at least for a moment. They all seem to go through the "I want to be an astronaut" phase. I certainly did, and I still think it would be a pretty cool job. November offers some great opportunities to see the ISS from Montana, at reasonable early-evening hours.

Take a break from turkey day prep and look outside. Credit Canva
Take a break from turkey day prep and look outside. Credit Canva

Thanksgiving Eve, it will zoom almost directly over Billings.

NASA provides this super handy calendar of when the International Space Station will fly over. Just enter your city. In this story, we'll give examples for Billings. The exact flyover time will vary from one end of the state to the other. NASA says for the space station to be visible, it must pass overhead from at least a 40 % viewing angle. And it has to be dark.

There are a handful of nights you'll be able to see it the rest of November in Montana; one of the best times will be on Wednesday, November 22. Beginning at 5:10 pm the space station will appear from the west/southwest. It will reach 86 degrees above Billings (basically looking straight up) and visibility will last for a total of seven minutes before it disappears to the east/northeast.

The International Space Station

Initially constructed in 1998, the International Space Station (ISS) is approximately 250 miles above the earth's surface, traveling at 17,500 mph. The ISS orbits Earth every 90 minutes and completes around 15 orbits daily.

Gallery Credit: Ed Nice

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