Tuesday, September 03, 2013
The International Space Station, Venus and the Moon, 8-9 September 2013
|The ISS passes between Venus and the Moon, close to the bright star Spica, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Sunday September 8 at 19:54 ADST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.||The ISS passes between Venus and Spica, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Monday September 9 at 19:06 ADST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.|
|All sky chart showing times from Heavens Above for Sunday 8 September for Adelaide.||All sky chart showing times from Heavens Above for Sunday 9 September for Adelaide.|
Towards the end of this week there are a series of bright evening passes of the International Space Station. For many places in Australia this series is capped by a series of spectacular passes on Sunday and Monday evening as the ISS comes close to Venus while Venus itself is in a massing with the Moon and the bright star Spica. After this it glides either through or under the Southern cross, depending on where you are.
When and what you will see is VERY location dependent, so you need to use either Heavens Above or CalSky to get site specific predictions for your location. Even the difference between the city centre and the suburbs can mean the difference between seeing the ISS go over Spica or just below it.
Start looking several minutes before the pass is going to start to get yourself oriented and your eyes dark adapted. Be patient, on the night there may be slight differences in the time of the ISS appearing due to orbit changes not picked up by the predictions. The ISS will be moving reasonably fast when it passes below Venus, so be alert.
The above images show the views on Monday night for Melbourne and Perth, Darwin doesn't see the ISS on the 8th or 9th, but there is a nice close pass between the Moon and Venus on the 7th in the twilight. The ISS will skim just above the edge of the thin crescent Moon around 19:02 ACST in Darwin. In Hobart on the 8th the ISS enters the Earth's shadow on the 8th just as it reaches the grouping of Venus, Spica and the Moon (see below).
Again, uses the links above to get precise predictions for your site.
If you are trying to take pictures, make sure you have a tripod and have the camera in night mode (or a mode were you can take exposures of around 5 minutes), if you can set the camera to take multiple exposures unattended that would be best.
|The ISS passes just above the Moon, as seen from Darwin on the evening of Saturday September 7 at 19:02 ACST.||The ISS passes near Saturn just before it enters the Earth's shadow, as seen from Hobart on the evening of Sunday September 8 at 20:26 AEST.|