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Santas ISS Passes – Watch Santa (The International Space Station) on his Practice Runs This Christmas.

Santas ISS: For the past few years, we’ve had some great festive fun in the UK with (Santa) International Space Station passes before Christmas.

As a result, many parents, grandparents and guardians have told their little ones that the ISS is actually Santa on his practice runs.  On the other hand, this sounds silly to some, but many small children with playful adults found it magical and really thought they could see Santa!

Will your children see Santa on his practice runs this year?  Perhaps they are too old now and know it’s the Space Station.  Regardless, the ISS is an amazing sight to behold and we can use it to spread some extra magic and inspire them to find out more about Space this Christmas.   Read on to find out more.

Is this for you?

If fooling small children into thinking the ISS is Santa isn’t your thing, and you are all Bah Humbug about it. No problem! You can still watch the station for the wonder that it is.

You can see when the Space Station passes over the UK in November/ December 2020 here. Follow @VirtualAstro on twitter for alerts and countdowns on when it passes over. Some parents etc. want to keep it real and let their children know it’s the ISS which is great!

There are so many more things you can do to light up their faces this Christmas.

Will Santa (the ISS) be Visible Christmas Eve?

This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions I get on twitter throughout the year!

The Space Station (Santa for the festive ones) will have evening passes in early December. However, there are morning passes where you can see Santa on his practice runs and on his way to other parts of the world on Christmas morning.

The next evening Christmas Eve pass will probably be in a couple of years unless the stations orbit changes a lot. We can’t really predict it accurately yet, as so much can change.

Don’t let this put you off though!

See Santa On His Practice Runs in 2020

You can see the ISS passing over the UK Late November/ early December in the evenings. In addition to this, Santas ISS passes will be visible in the mornings a few days before and on Christmas morning. You can if you wish spread some early seasonal magic with these pass times. But if not, I’m sure seeing the station will be just as magical and inspiring for kids if you want to get up early. I’m sure you will be with small children.

Most of all! I hope you have a great deal of fun and interest with your children during the passes, whatever you tell them it is.

When to Watch

The table below gives approximate pass times and basic information. This will help you spot Santa as he passes over.

Only bright ISS passes which can be seen from the UK are listed and the information is approximate. Therefore, timings may differ by a few seconds, dependent on observer’s location. Times may change at short notice if the Station performs an orbital boost and changes its orbit. All Timings are local time.

Give yourself plenty of time, get your cameras ready and enjoy Santa as he passes over. Keep your eyes peeled for meteors, satellites and other objects too, they may be visible also!

Have a very Merry Christmas.

Pass Times

Times may differ slightly to other sources and can change at short notice, so please check this page daily for accurate timings.

Date Brightness Rises 10° over the horizon (start time) Approaches From (start direction) Highest Point This Pass Sets/ Goes into Earths Shadow (direction)  Goes into Earths Shadow Approximate  Pass Details
23 December 2020 Incredibly Bright 07:02 SW 07:05 E 07:09 Overhead Pass
24 December 2020 Very Bright 06:15 W 06:18 E 06:21 Medium Altitude Pass
25 December 2020 Incredibly Bright 07:03 WSW 07:07 SSW 07:10 Overhead Pass – On His Way to the rest of the world

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