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Saturday, October 31, 2015

 

Still More Bright International Space Station Passes (31 September - 6 November 2015)

The ISS pass from Adelaide on the evening of Saturday September 31 at 20:50 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes near the Moon, as seen from Adelaide on the morning of Sunday 1 November at 4:57 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes above Scorpius and the Southern Cross from Adelaide on the evening of Monday November 2 at 20:40 ACDST. 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 31 October from Adelaide.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Sunday 1 November for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Monday 2 November from Adelaide.

Starting tonight  (Saturday) there are a series of bright evening passes of the International Space Station lasting a more or less a week depending on where you are. For many places in Australia this series has the ISS being very bright high in the sky, or coming close to Venus, Mars and Jupiter in the Early morning sky. Almost everywhere in Australia will see a bright pass tonight anywhere between 7:30 and 8:30 local time. Example cities are below.

                                                                  Time      Direction                 Magnitude

Alice Springs ACST Maximum altitude19:47:1058°228° (SW)481-2.7
  
Adelaide ACDST     Maximum altitude 20:50:0555°46° (NE)501   -3.3
Brisbane AEST         Maximum altitude18:44:4246°51° (NE)559   -3.0
 
Melbourne AEDST   Maximum altitude21:21:3975°42° (NE)433  -3.4

Similarly, most of Australia sees the ISS pass not far from the planetary line-up on the morning of the 1st. In Adelaide the ISS passes just under the Moon, in Alice Springs it passes between Venus and Jupiter. Most of the East coast sees it passing between the Hyades and Pleiades.


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 Alice Springs, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbouren as examples, and you can see how differnt they are ). Even the difference between the city centre and the suburbs can mean the difference between seeing the ISS go very close to the Moon or over the face of 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 Saturn, so be alert to catch the fleeting moment when the pair are close..

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