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Saturday, January 18, 2014

 

Catch a Series of Bright International Space Sation Passes (18-25 January 2014)

The ISS passes near the Southern Cross, as seen from Melbourne on the evening of Saturday 18 January at 22:28 AEDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes through the Southern Cross, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Saturday 18 January at 21:56 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes through the Southern Cross, as seen from Perth on the evening of Saturday 18 January at 20:55 AWST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.
All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Saturday 18 January for Melbourne.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Saturday 18 January for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Saturday 18 January for Perth.

Starting tonight there are a series of bright evening passes of the International Space Station lasting a week. For many places in Australia this series has the ISS gliding either through or under the Southern cross (early in the week), depending on where you are, and coming close to bright Jupiter mid week.Some of the passes are very short although bright as the ISS enters Earth's shadow. Similarly none of the passes near Jupiter get very close as the ISS enters Earth's shadow, but it is interesting to see the ISS wink out abruptly.

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 (I'm using Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth as examples, for example, the view from Melbourne is radically different from that of Adelaide and Perth on the night of the 22nd). Even the difference between the city centre and the suburbs can mean the difference between seeing the ISS go through Orion's belt 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 near Jupiter, so be alert as it enters Earth's shadow very quickly, ending the view.

The ISS passes near Aldebaran and the Pleiades, as seen from Melbourne on the evening of Wednesday 22 January at 22:25 AEDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes above Jupiter, just before entering Earth's shadow, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Wednesday 22 January at 21:55 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes above Jupiter, just before entering Earth's shadow, as seen from Perth on the evening of Wednesday 22 January at 20:58 AWST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.
All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Wednesday 22 January for Melbourne.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Wednesday 22 January for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Wednesday 22 January for Perth.


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