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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

 

A Series of Bright International Space Station Passes this Week

All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Wednesday January 15 for Adelaide.  All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Tuesday January 20 for Adelaide. 
The ISS passes near the Southern Cross, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Wednesday January 15 at 22:44 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes near Sirius, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Tuesday January 20 at 21:40 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.

Starting tonight there are a series of bright evening passes of the International Space Station lasting at least the 23rd. For many places in Southern Australia this series has the ISS gliding either above, through or under the Southern Cross, depending on where you are. On the 20th there is a bright pass which takes the ISS close to the bright star Sirius (in Melbourne it passes close to Orion's Belt instead).

Some of the passes are very short although bright 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 Adelaide only as an example as ther are just too many of them).
  
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 the Southern Cross and Sirius, so viewers should be alert as the ISS comes up from the horizon very quickly.

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Comments:
Hi,
Awesome blog, thanks.

After telescope viewing lovejoy last night (15th Jan 2015) I was checking southern cross with naked eye at 22:06 New Zealand time from my house at Pukehina (37.8000° S, 176.5167° E). I saw the ISS (based on stellarium and your comments) being followed by a satellite(?) about 2cm behind moving on same path and at same speed.

Any idea what I may have been viewing? Dragon from SpaceX docking/leaving or something else?

Thanks
Ross
 
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