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Sunday, February 09, 2014

 

Bright International Space Station Passes Near Venus (11-14 February 2014)

The ISS passes near Venus, as seen from Melbourne on the morning of Tuesday February 11 at 6:18 AEDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes near Venus, as seen from Adelaide on the morning of Tuesday February 11 at 5:47 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes near Venus, as seen from Perth on the  morning of Tuesday February 11 at 4:49 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 Tuesday February 11 for Melbourne.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Tuesday February 11 for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Tuesday February 11 for Perth.

Starting Tuesday morning  there are a series of bright morning passes of the International Space Station. For many places in Australia this series has the ISS gliding close to Venus. For most places the best time is the morning of Tuesday February 11, but there are good passes on the 13th and 14th as well.
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, the view from Melbourne is different from that of Adelaide and Perth on the morning of the 11th). Even the difference between the city centre and the suburbs can mean the difference between seeing the ISS go through Venus or just above or 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 Venus, so you need to be alert or you will miss it.

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