By Chuck McPartlin
The International Space Station will be making some nice visible evening passes above Santa Barbara for a week, weather permitting. I'm leaving out some dim evening passes, and some bright morning passes, but you can get predictions and updates at Heavens-Above.
On Monday, July 15, the ISS will rise in the S at 8:59 PM PDT, and pass low over our ocean horizon through the tail of Scorpius, through the Teapot of Sagittarius and above Saturn and the Moon, and set in the E at 9:04 PM under the lower wing of Cygnus, the Swan. The space station will return at 10:35 PM in the WSW near the Shopping Cart (Corvus), go through the spot where the handle and bowl of the Big Dipper join, below Polaris, and set near the "W" of Cassiopeia in the NNE at 10:41 PM.
Tuesday's pass will be the highest evening pass, rising at 9:45 PM in the SW in Corvus, then soaring near blue-white Spica and orange Arcturus, through Draco, the Dragon, and vanishing in Cepheus in the NE at 9:52 PM.
On Wednesday, the ISS will rise at 8:56 PM in the SSW near the tail of Hydra, the Sea Snake, and pass bright and fairly low through Libra and Ophiuchus, then by Albireo, the beak of Cygnus, and set in the NE below its lower wing at 9:03 PM. Albireo is a Cub Scout double star in a small scope or large binoculars, with a blue component and a yellow component. It's also just over 400 light years away, so the light you see left those stars when Galileo was looking at the sky. On its next orbit, the station will rise at 10:34 PM in the WNW by Leo, cruise below the bowl of the Big Dipper, and set below Cassiopeia at 10:38 PM in the N.
On Thursday, July 18, the station will appear in the W at 9:44 PM and make a low pass over our mountains, from the hindquarters of Leo to below the bowl of the Big Dipper, and below Polaris to fade out in the NE in Cassiopeia at 9:50 PM.
For Friday, it will rise at 8:54 PM in the WSW near Denebola, the tail of Leo, sail through the bowl of the Big Dipper and above Polaris, and once again vanish into Cassiopeia at 9 PM in the NE.
On Sunday, the ISS will rise in the WNW at 8:53 PM, and pass low over the mountains from the Sickle of Leo through the nose of Ursa Major and into Cassiopeia in the NNE at 8:58 PM.
The International Space Station will return to our evening sky a week later, and make visible passes into the second week of August.