As bright as the planet Venus and travelling at eight kilometres per second, the International Space Station is visible from Australia right now, and you can spot it at various times of the night until early February.

According to this tracker – which tells you exactly when and where to look for the International Space Station, depending on where you are – the best time to see the space base is within a few hours of sunrise or sunset. This is because the sunlight reflects off the space station’s surface, making it easier to spot against the dark sky.

On Tuesday January 25, for instance, it’ll be visible from Sydney for five minutes from 4.57am. In Melbourne, it’ll be visible for five minutes from 4.56am on the same day. And in Brisbane, it’ll be visible twice on the same morning: at 2.24am for less than a minute and from 3.57am for three minutes.

“[It] is an awe-inspiring and humbling sight,” says Dr Ceri Brenner, from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), which is currently studying the effects of galactic cosmic rays on astronauts aboard the ISS. “The ISS [travels] eight kilometres per second, meaning it races around the Earth in about 90 minutes. That’s 16 orbits per day,” she says.

The ISS is currently home to seven astronauts; if you spot the space station, give them a wave. But how will you know what to look for? The ISS, which is the size of a soccer field, looks like a very bright star or an aeroplane. It doesn’t have flashing lights, nor does it change direction.

spotthestation.nasa.gov