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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

 

The ISS Meets the Line-Up of Saturn Venus and Antares (28 October, 2016)

The ISS passes near Venus, Saturn and Antares as seen from Adelaide on the evening of  Friday 28 October at 21:14 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes almost over Saturn as seen from Brisbane on the evening of  Friday 28 October at 19:09 AEST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes almost over Venus as seen from Perth on the evening of Friday 28 October at 20:16 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 28 Octoberr for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Friday 28 October for Brisbane.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Friday 28 October for Perth.

If you have been following Venus's rise towards the Scorpion, you will have been waiting for  Friday the 28th of October when Venus, Saturn and Antares form a straight line, capping off a month of nice planetary encounters. 
For most of Australia this line-up is made doubly special by a visit from the International Space Station. From some sites the ISS will pass very close to Venus, from others close to Saturn.  There are also some nice passes close to the pointers and Crux.

Most of the major cites (Adelaide 21:14 ACDST, Brisbane 19:09 AEST, Canberra 21:45 AEDST, Sydney 21:45 AEDST, Melbourne 21:46 AEDST, Perth 20:16 AWST, Hobart 21:47 AEDST) see the ISS pass by the trio. Hobasrt see a very wide pass, and Canberra and Sydney's pass is very clse to the horizon and needs a clear, level western horizon.

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 (or Saturn)  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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