Thursday, June 30, 2016
See the ISS buzz Jupiter and Mars (1-6 July, 2016)
|The ISS passes above Mars, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Friday 1 July at 18:46 ACST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.||The ISS passes near Jupiter, as seen from Melbourne on the on the evening of Friday 1 July at 19:16 AEST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.||The ISS passes beside Jupiter, as seen from Perth on the evening of Friday 1 July at 18:46 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 Friday 1 July for Adelaide.||All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Friday 1 July for Melbourne.||All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Tuesday Friday 1 July for Perth.|
Starting July 1 there is series of bright passes of the International Space Station occurring in the early evening. In most places in Australia the ISS will pass close to Jupiter at varying times, others close to Mars and in still others there are close passes to bright stars such as the pointers.
Friday evening (1 July) sees the ISS pass close to Jupiter as seen from Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. Melbourne in particular will have a very close pass, and some sites may see the ISS pass in front of Jupiter. On Friday the ISS also passes close to Mars as seen from Adelaide, and close to alpha Centauri (Rigel Kent) as seen from Perth.
There's lots more, although several are close to the horizon. For example, from Adelaide there is another close Jupiter pass on the 4th, and a very close pass to the bright star Canopus on the5th. On the 24th from Melbourne, the ISS passes through Orion's Belt. Melbourne has a very close pass to both pointers on the 4th. Perth has a close Mars pass on the 2nd.
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, choosing some of the more distinctive events, but there are lots more that are perfectly nice and lost of other good sights from other Australian sites, Brisbane has a nice Mars pass on the 1st fro example).
Start looking several minutes before the pass is going to start to get yourself oriented and your eyes dark adapted. Be patient, there may be slight differences in the time of the ISS appearing due to orbit changes not picked up by the predictions. For several passes the ISS enters the earth's shadow (eg Melbourne July 1, just after the ISS passes Jupiter it should wink out) when the ISS is not very high.