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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

 

Catch a Series of Bright International Space Station Passes (6-11 May 2015)

The ISS passes near the Venus, looking north-west as seen from Melbourne on the evening of Thursday 7 May at 19:04 AEST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes near the Venus, looking north-west as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Thursday 7 May at 18:33 ACST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggenThe ISS passes near the Venus, looking north-west as seen from Perth on the evening of Thursday 7 May at 18:33 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 Thursday 7 May for Melbourne.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Thursday 7 May for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Thursday 7 May 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 Orion, depending on where you are, and coming close to bright Venus on the 7th (Thursday). Some of the passes are very short although bright as the ISS enters Earth's shadow. 

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  different from that of Adelaide and Perth on the night of the 7th). 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 moderately fast when it passes near Venus, so be alert.

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