ISS for December
By Chuck McPartlin
On Monday, December 10, the ISS will rise in the NNW at 5:50 PM PST, and make a low pass over our mountain horizon to fade out in the NE at 5:53 PM, just before reaching the bright star Capella.
On Tuesday, it will rise at 6:33 PM in the NW and climb past the bright star Vega to disappear in the Earth's shadow in the NNW at 6:36 PM near the star Deneb. Vega is about 26 light years distant, and Deneb is about 2600 light years away, intrinsically about 10,000 times brighter than Vega.
Wednesday's first pass will be the brightest of this sequence, appearing in the NW at 5:41 PM, following our mountain horizon and the length of Ursa Minor, the Little Dipper, before disappearing in the ESE at 5:47 PM. On its next orbit, the station will briefly show up at 7:19 PM in the W, and cruise low to set in the WSW at 7:20 PM.
On Thursday, the ISS will start in the WNW at 6:26 PM and visit our western and ocean horizon, passing through Aquila, Capricornus, below Mars and the Moon, past Fomalhout (the Lonely One), and disappearing in the dim constellation Phoenix, low in the S, at 6:31 PM. Fomalhaut is about 25 light years away, and has at least one known exoplanet.
There will be a bright pass on Friday, December 14, rising at 5:33 PM in the NW, going past Vega, Enif (the nose of Pegasus), very close to Mars, and setting at 5:40 PM in the SE in Fornax, the Furnace.
The last visible evening pass of 2018 will be on Sunday, December 16, when the ISS will rise at 5:26 PM in the WNW and pass low across our western horizon to set in the SW at 5:31 PM.