By Chuck McPartlin
The International Space Station will give us another nice set of visible evening passes through Santa Barbara’s skies over the next week or so. Its orbit can change at times, so to get the latest and most complete predictions, visit Heavens Above.
On Monday, February 3, the ISS will appear briefly, very low in the N below the bowl of the Little Dipper, for about a minute starting at 6:56 PM.
On Tuesday, it will appear slightly higher, but still very low over our mountain horizon, rising in the N at 6:10 PM, passing just beneath the Little Dipper's bowl, then across the bowl of the Big Dipper, and fading away in the dim constellation Leo Minor in the NE at 6:12 PM. On its next orbit it will very briefly pop up in the NW at 7:45 PM near Deneb, the tail of Cygnus, the Swan.
The station will make a bright pass on Wednesday, rising in the NNW at 6:57 PM in Cygnus, passing along Draco, and then below Polaris, the North Star, before vanishing into our shadow in the NNE at 7 PM.
There will be two passes again on Thursday, when the ISS will first rise in the NNW at 6:10 PM, pass through the bowl of the Little Dipper, above the bowl of the Big Dipper, and then through dim Lynx and Cancer before disappearing below the Moon in the E at 6:15 PM. It will return at 7:46 PM in the WNW, crossing the Great Square of Pegasus, and fading out at 7:48 PM in the W, north of brilliant Venus.
On February 7, the ISS will make a bright pass starting at 6:58 PM in the NW in Cygnus, sail past Alpheratz, the head of Andromeda, then through Aries, Cetus, and Eridanus. It will disappear into the Earth's shadow in Lepus, the Rabbit, below the feet of Orion, at 7:03 PM in the SSE.
The brightest pass of this sequence will start on Saturday at 6:11 PM in the NW in Cygnus, going overhead through Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, near the bright yellow star Capella in Auriga, between Orion and the feet of Gemini, and near Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, to set in the SE at 6:18 PM.
On Sunday, the station will rise in the W at 7:01 PM in Pegasus, cruise below Venus, by Deneb Kaitos, then very low over our ocean horizon to set at 7:05 PM in the SSW.
The last pass of this sequence will be on Monday, February 10, when the ISS will follow a higher version of Sunday's path, starting in the WNW at 6:13 PM, and ending in the SSE at 6:19 PM.