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ISS Passing Over
updated: Dec 10, 2012, 10:23 AM

The International Space Station will make a bright pass across our southern (ocean) sky tonight, rising in the SW at around 5:59 PM, and passing to the NE, where it will enter the Earth's shadow at about 6:03 PM. The bright object nearby when the ISS disappears is the planet Jupiter.

As a bonus, at 6:57 PM on Wednesday evening, low in the south, there will be a very bright (magnitude -7) Iridium flare, best seen from Goleta. From downtown SB, it will be dimmer (mag 4.7), but still the brightest thing in the sky. It will be visible from about Carpinteria to Refugio along the coast, and will still be a respectable mag -2.4 from Santa Ynez. Look for it about 24 degrees, or two fist widths at arm's length, above the horizon.

The brightness magnitude scale is non-linear, with each step being about 2.5 times brighter or dimmer. It's also a bit confusing, because smaller magnitudes are brighter. Jupiter is currently around mag -3, and Aldebaran, the orange star next to it, is about mag +1.


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