How To Watch The International Space Station Livestream Its View Of Earth

Of all the achievements in recent space science, one of the most impressive must be the International Space Station — a place where we as a species have maintained a continuous presence in space for over 20 years. The International Space Station hosts a number of astronauts, typically between three and 12 at a time, who generally live and work there for a few months or up to a year, doing tasks like station maintenance and research.

The International Space Station hosts experiments of many kinds, from research into human health like testing out new drug delivery systems, to space research like learning about how the space environment affects astronauts' eyesight, to theoretical physics experiments into the nature of matter. The astronauts also grow food in hydroponic test beds and spend a lot of time exercising to overcome the problem of muscle wastage.

But the International Space Station isn't only for learning about space — it's also for learning about the Earth. Astronauts often capture stunning views of our planet as seen from above, and have even captured phenomena like hurricanes as seen from orbit. They have also captured geographical phenomena like aurorae, sand dunes, ice sheets, and gorgeous images of cities at night which are visible due to their bright lights.

That's not all though. The International Space Station also has high definition cameras mounted to its exterior which record regular footage of Earth as seen from space. And livestreams of this footage are easily available to watch for free, meaning you can see our planet from above any time you want.

How to watch the International Space Station livestream view of Earth

The program that shows footage from the International Space Station is called the ISS High Definition Live Streaming Video of the Earth, or HDEV, and you can watch it at this website. The original HDEV experiment wrapped up back in 2019, but other cameras on the exterior of the station have taken over, so there is still a regular stream of video you can tune into.

The livestream goes offline sometimes, and the screen will appear black because the station is on the far side of the Earth to the sun, called the nighttime side. If you look carefully at the footage, even when it's dark, you'll often be able to spot points of light in the darkness caused by light sources on Earth like cities.

You can scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the highlights videos, which show a few minutes' worth of clips of beautiful views of Earth from the experiment.

If you want a convenient way to view footage of the view from the International Space Station, you could also turn to this livestream on YouTube. Though it isn't NASA official or from the International Space Station, it shows high-quality footage of the view, and when the official stream is offline it replays older footage — so you'll be able to watch relaxing and fascinating views at any time of day. When the footage is live, a red box with "Live Now" shows in the top left corner of the screen.

Other ways to watch views of Earth from the International Space Station

You can also see footage of Earth from the International Space Station using apps. The ISS Live Now app is ideal for Android phones or Android TVs. Once again, this isn't an official app and is ad-supported, but there is a free version you can try to see if you like it. The app shows views from the International Space Station as well as live streams of NASA TV channels.

While you're browsing views from space, you might also want to check out NASA's Spot the Station website. It's often possible to see the space station flying overhead on a clear night and you know where to look. This website helps you track the station and has tips on when and where you can see it. Generally it's possible to see the International Space Station between once a month and several times a week, depending on weather conditions, light pollution, and your location. The European Space Agency also has a similar page dedicated to advice on how to spot the International Space Station here.

There's nothing quite like seeing the planet from space to encourage a sense of wonder and beauty at the world around us.