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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.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 352504 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 06:04 PM

Excellent! I have never seen a non-lunar satellite before so that was quite cool.


 PAMSB agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 07:20 PM

Thanks for the reminder...was really, really bright tonight!


 COMMENT 352559 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 07:53 PM

I saw it too, did anyone else see the jet airplane with it's lights flashing pass right underneath? Although it passed about 218 miles underneath.


 COMMENT 352694 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 08:28 AM

We saw it -- thanks for the (literal) "heads-up". I didn't know what an iridium flare was, but while waiting for the ISS to pass into view, I was looking high in the sky, probably SSE and saw something that looked like this:
I probably was hallucinating, but I'd swear that I could see the satellite's reflector (like in the lower photo on that link). It was awesome.


 COMMENT 352814 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 12:05 PM

Thank you for this very informative reminder.


 COMMENT 352880 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 02:08 PM

I missed it :( When's the next night time pass over?


 COMMENT 352931 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 03:22 PM

It's not much use posting this on Tuesday, after the fact. I have noticed this happening before. Please give us the alert in advance.


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