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Monday, September 12, 2016

 

The ISS meets Venus and Mars (16-21 September)

The ISS passes almost over Venus as seen from Adelaide on the evening of  Monday 19 September at 18:59 ACST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes near Venus as seen from Brisbane on the evening of  Wednesday 21 September at 18:41 AEST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes near Venus as seen from Perth on the evening of Tuesday 20 September at 19:55 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 Monday 19 September for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Wednesday 21 for Brisbane.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Tuesday 20 September for Perth.

After a few weeks absence the International Space Station returns to our evening skies. Although stricktly speaking, the ISS returns tonight, for mots of Australia it is low and the passes are short until around the 16th.  From then on the ISS will have a series of nice bright passes featuring some moderately close passes to Mars, and some quite close passes to Venus. At other times the ISS will come reasonably close to bright stars.

The most spectacular of the passes are the close passes to Venus, these are on 18 September from Melbourne, Almost on top of Venus on 19 Spetember in Adelaide (and again on the 20th), 19th and 20th from Perth, 20th and 21st for Brisbane and 21st for Sydney.

For Mars, the passes are less close but still nice, 16th for Melbourne, 18th for Adelaide and Perth, 19th for Brisbane. For Sydney the ISS is closest to Saturn instead.

There are also some nice passes close to 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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