Friday, April 26, 2013

Another space station pass tonight

Hope you all enjoyed the celestial show last night! I was surprised  at how obvious the partial eclipse was visible to the naked eye. Here is a picture from my friend Gadi:

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Tonight we get an encore of lasts nights show, including an ISS pass, Saturn, the Moon, and Jupiter. The only thing missing is an eclipse, but you can't have everything.
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The first "star" to pop out in the west after sunset is Jupiter. By 7:45pm, the sky will be dark enough that Jupiter will shine alone in the the western sky a bit to the right of where the Sun set. As it gets darker, more bright stars will appear, but Jupiter will still outshine then till  it sets at 10pm.

Next comes the  space station. The ISS will not be as bright or high as yesterday, but the pass will be longer lasting about 3 minutes. Check it out after Shul as it rises in the northwest at  8:08pm. It will then head southeast about 1/2 way up the sky, passing the bright star Arcturus, and fading into the earth's shadow at 8:11, just before meeting Saturn near the SE horizon. (For advanced users, you can see the star map here.)

After the pass, see if you can spot Saturn, even before the Moon rises (at 8:15pm). It will actually be easier to find without the glare of the Moon right next door. It will be the brightest "star" just above the eastern horizon near where the space station disappeared. If you don't have a clear view of the  horizon you may need to wait an hour or 2 for Saturn to clear the hills and trees. The Moon will now appear below Saturn and about twice as far away as it was last night.

The view at about 9:00pm.

(We are actually going to have a visible ISS pass for the next 4 nights. You can find details yourself at heavens-above, or sign up for alerts at


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