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Nathan Bergey’s ISS Lamp notifies him when the International Space Station is in transit over his location. It acts as a reminder of the wonder of what’s being accomplished by humans in orbit around Earth:

The International Space Station (ISS) is a marvel of current technology and humanity. Sadly, we often forget it’s there. This light sits on a desk and lights up when the space station passes overhead. It stays lit as long as the station is more than 10 degrees above the horizon. Being reminded that there are astronauts doing science over our heads every day helps reconnect us with our space program.

If you want to build your own, Nathan has provided a full write up of the project, including the source code. [via CRAFT]

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a Brooklyn-based creative technologist, Contributing Editor at MAKE, and Resident Research Fellow at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.



  1. Anonymous says:

    and the answer to those who are too busy to RTFA is:  he scrapes the ISS position off a webpage.  (as opposed to potentially more intriguing yet unworkable solutions involving transponder signals dish antennae orbital perturbations and unobtainium)

    (so now “1 Comments and 99 Reactions”.  99 reactions on the wall, 99 reactions, take one down twitter it around, 98 reactions on the wall….)

  2. Dave Brunker says:

    That could come in handy.  I was inspired by Diana Eng’s antenna project from Make 24, so I earned my ham radio license, bough a radio and made the antenna so my first contact would be with an astronaut on the International Space Station.  Sadly the Col. Doug Wheelock, who made a huge number of contacts with ham radio operators on Earth, left the ISS, days before my accomplishments.  I’ve been waiting since November to use license and equipment for the first time and trying not to get frustrated and discouraged.

    On a more cheerful note, you can follow the ISS astronauts of Expedition 28 on Twitter since the ISS has some Internet access: @Astro_Ron, @astro_aggie and @Astro_Satoshi.  If you’re interested in radio contact information with the ISS you can get it from @rs0iss and @ARISS_status has general news updates.  If you’re a Windows user you can get the freeware program Orbitron ( ) and on clear nights watch the ISS move across the sky.

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