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Sunday, November 03, 2013

 

The International Space Station, Venus and the Moon, 3-8 November 2013

The ISS passes near Venus, Sagittarius, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Tuesday November 5 at 21:33 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes beside Venus and the crescent Moon, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Thursday November 7 at 21:34 ADCST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.
All sky chart showing times from Heavens Above for Tuesday November 5 for Adelaide.Click to embiggenAll sky chart showing times from Heavens Above for Thursday November 7 for Adelaide. Click to embiggen

This week sees another series of bright evening passes of the International Space Station. For many places in Australia this series is capped midweek to end week by a series of spectacular passes as the ISS comes close to Venus while Venus itself is close to the Moon.

When and what you will see is VERY location dependent (eg on the 5th in Sydney the ISS crosses the Zenith, far from Venus, but on the 7th it is closer to Venus than from Adelaide), 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 close to Venus or far from 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 byVenus, so be alert.

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.

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