Monday, February 18, 2008
Over the next few days Mercury becomes more prominent in the morning twilight and comes close to Venus, making an attractive morning sight. To add to the spectacle, during this time the decaying spy satellite USA 193 and the International Space station pass through the planetary line-up of Venus, Mercury and Jupiter as seen from Australia. From Adelaide for example, on the 20th the ISS passes between Venus and Mercury, and on the 22nd USA 193 passes between Venus and Mercury.
These views are highly location dependent, for example, Sydney has no ISS pass on the 20th, but the ISS passes close to Venus on the 21st. This is especially true for USA 193, as it's orbit is decaying. So it is best to get predictions for your exact location from Heavens Above, and check them reasonably often in the case of USA 193.
UPDATE: on Wednesday the 20th, some Australian sites will see the shuttle and the ISS close together, check Heavens Above for details.