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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

 

A good Week for ISS passes, including seeing the ISS shoot through Orions Belt (27 April - 2 May)

The ISS passes almost over η Orion, as seen from Melbourne on the evening of Sunday 30 April at 19:28 AEST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS  passes almost over Alnitak, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Saturday 29 April at 18:56 ACST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes Betelguese and Sirius, as seen from Perth on the evening of Saturday 29 April at 18:07 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 Sunday 30 April for Melbourne.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Saturday 29 April for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Saturday 29 April for Perth.

Starting tomorrow night there are a series of bright evening passes of the International Space Station lasting around five days. Some are low to the horizon, but for many places in Australia this series has the ISS gliding either close to Jupiter, the crescent Moon or a series of bright stars (except Darwin, which only gets one bright evening pass on the 27th).

The most spectacular is between the 29th and the 2nd, when the ISS passes through the iconic constellation of Orion with the crescent Moon nearby. From some places the ISS will pass through the belt of Orion, and may pass in front of some of the belts stars.

Most of the major cites see the ISS pass through Orion at the following days and times:
Adelaide 29th April 18:56 ACST (belt pass),
Brisbane 29th April 17:52 AEST (belt pass)
Sydney 1st May 17:44 AEDST (close to Rigel)
Melbourne 29th April 19:28 AEST (belt pass)
Perth 30th April 18:07 AWST (Close to Betelguese)
Hobart 2 May  18:28 AEST (Belt Pass)

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 a belt star or 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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