January Space Station

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By Chuck McPartlin

The International Space Station will be making some nice visible evening passes above Santa Barbara from January 13 through January 21. Its orbit may change from time to time, especially now that they have to dodge more space debris, so to get the latest and most complete predictions, visit Heavens Above.

On Thursday, January 13, the ISS will start with a brief, 15-second pop-up low in the SSW in the constellation Phoenix at 7:16:04 PM PST.

Friday's pass will be low on our ocean horizon, starting at 6:29 PM in the S, from Phoenix along the lower reaches of Eridanus, the River, ending near the nose of Lepus, the Hare, sitting below the feet of Orion in the SE at 6:31 PM.

On Saturday, it will pop up in the WSW from 7:16 PM for two minutes, from between the lonely star Fomalhaut and bright Jupiter to near the Circlet of Pisces asterism.

The brightest pass of this series will occur on Sunday, rising in the SW by Fomalhaut at 6:28 PM, and cruising through Cetus, Aries, between orange Aldebaran and the Pleiades, and into Auriga in the ENE, where it will fade out above the Moon at 6:32 PM.

There will be two passes on Monday, January 17. The space station will rise in the SSW at 5:40 PM, go below Fomalhaut, through Eridanus and between Betelgeuse and Bellatrix, the shoulders Orion, then it will disappear at 5:46 PM in the ENE between the Moon and the head stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux. It will reappear in the W at 7:17 PM, sailing from near Jupiter, below Enif, the nose of Pegasus, and then through a wing of Cygnus to vanish near Deneb, the Swan's tail, at 7:19 PM in the NW.

On Tuesday, the ISS will take a similar, brighter and longer longer path, which will start by Jupiter at 6:28 PM in the WSW, and then continue past Cygnus to go below Cepheus and end at 6:33 PM in the NNE, after passing below Polaris and almost reaching the rising bowl of the Big Dipper.

Wednesday will see another brighter, longer, and higher repeat, starting in the SW at 5:39 PM, but going through the chest of Pegasus, the W of Cassiopeia, and dim Camelopardalis to end in the front paw of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, in the NE at 5:46 PM. It will show up again for 16 seconds at 7:7:24 PM in the NW, very low in Cygnus.

Thursday's pass will begin at 6:29 PM in the WNW and pass through Delphinus, Cygnus, and Draco to end in the N below the Little Dipper asterism at 6:34 PM.

The last event of this series will rise on Friday at 5:40 PM in the W, and be a longer and higher version of Thursday's path, ending in the NNE at 5:46 PM as it reaches the rising bowl of the Big Dipper.

The ISS will be back in our evening sky at the beginning of February. Will Punxsutawney Phil see it?

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