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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

 

The ISS meets Venus and Jupiter (30 August- 3 September)

The ISS passes between Venus and Jupiter, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of  Friday 2 September at 18:28 ACST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes near Venus and Jupiter, as seen from Melbourne on the evening of  Friday 2 September at 18:59 AEST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes near Venus and Jupiter, as seen from Perth on the evening of  Friday 2 September at 18:33 AWST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS 0will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.
All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Friday 2 September for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Friday 2 September for Melbourne.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Friday 2 September for Perth.

From tonight (Tuesday 30 August) until Saturday 3 September there is series of bright passes of the International Space Station occurring in the evening twilight. In middle and Southern  Australia the ISS will pass close to Mars and Antares at varying times (on Wednesday 31 August from Adelaide the ISS will almost go over Antares), However, the most spectacular events are when the ISS shoots between (or very close to) Venus and Jupiter.

Friday evening (2August) sees the  ISS pass just below Mercury and Jupiter in the twilight as seen from Perth, between Venus and Jupiter as seen from Adelaide and Adelaide and almost on top of Venus as seen from Melbourne. You will need a fairly unobstructed, level horizon to see this clearly, and the twilight glow will dim the ISS somewhat.

For Sydney and Canberra, the ISS passes above the trio of Venus, Jupiter and Mercury on Thursday September 1. This will be still quite spectacular to see, and somewhat easier as the ISS is higer in the sky. Points north (Brisbane, Alice Springs, Darwin) miss out on this event.


On both dates there are also closish passes to various other bright stars (like the pointers and Crux).

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, a small difference in location can mean the difference between the ISS passing over Venus and missing it completely.
 
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. Use the most recent prediction for your site.

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