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The ISS Returns
updated: Jun 18, 2014, 8:54 AM

By Chuck McPartlin

The northern hemisphere's summer solstice, when the Sun reaches it's most northerly, highest appearance for the year, is coming up this Sunday. Because of the inclination, or angle relative to the equator, of the orbit of the International Space Station, around the time of the solstice it can remain illuminated by the Sun throughout its orbits for a couple of days, in contrast to its usual 90 minute cycle. This means we'll get a few more visible evening passes for Santa Barbara, and the astronauts will get lots more time than usual to work on their tans. These are just the best and brightest appearances. If you want to catch all of the visible passes, you can find them at www.heavens-above.com and similar websites.

On Wednesday, June 18, the ISS will rise in the NW at 10:41 PM, and climb up to a spot just above the bowl of the Big Dipper, where it will fade into the Earth's shadow at 10:43 PM.

On Thursday, it will rise in the NW at 9:52 PM, and pass along our mountain horizon to the ENE, where it will fade into shadow in the middle of the bright Summer Triangle asterism of Vega, Deneb, and Altair.

On Friday, it will appear twice, rising first at 9:03 PM in the NNW, and crossing our mountain horizon to set in the east at 9:08, by Altair. It will rise again in the WNW at 10:39, and disappear into shadow in the middle of Leo, to the west, at 10:41.

Saturday evening's pass will be from the NW, rising at 9:50 PM, going almost overhead until entering Earth's shadow high in the SSE. This will be the highest and brightest pass of the current sequence.

On Sunday, the ISS will rise in the NW at 9:01 PM, and pass high across our mountain horizon to set in the ESE at 9:07 PM.

Monday at 9:49 PM, it will rise in the WNW, and pass low along our western horizon to set in the SSW at 9:53.

The last bright pass of this series will appear at 8:59 PM on Tuesday in the WNW, and go fairly along our western horizon to set in the SSE at 9:06.

Hasta nebula - Chuck


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