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Thursday, March 16, 2017

 

A Series of Bright ISS passes (16-20 March, 2017)

The ISS passes almost over Procyon, as seen from Melbourne on the evening of Friday 17 March at 20:25 AEDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes between Sirius and Canopus, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Thursday 16 March at 20:46 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes through the False Cross, as seen from Perth on the evening of Thursday 16 March at 19:50 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 17 March for Melbourne.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Thursday 16 March for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Thursday 16 March for Perth.

Starting tonight there are a series of bright evening passes of the International Space Station lasting around five days. Many are low to the horizon, but for many places in Australia this series has the ISS gliding either throughthe Southern cross, coming close to bright stars or distinctive constellations such as Orion. Some of the passes are very short although bright as the ISS enters Earth's shadow.The est and brightest of the passes occur during a period from 16-18 March, favouring the east coast.

Most of the major cites see the ISS pass almost at the zenith and  close to bright stars in the evening at the following days and times:
Adelaide 16th 20:46 ACDST (best), 18th 20:38 ACDST;
Brisbane 17th 19:24 AEST; 18th 18:35 AEST; 20th 18:27 AEST
Sydney 17th 20:27 AEDST, 18th 19:34 AEDST;
Melbourne 16th 21:14 AEDST; 17th 20:25 AEDST (best)
Perth 16th 19:50 AWST; 17th 18:54 AWST; 18th 18:38 AWST;
Hobart 17th 20:24 AEDST

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 Procyon 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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