May's International Space Station Views

May's International Space Station Views title=
May's International Space Station Views
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By Chuck McPartlin

The Sun's daily trajectory is now well to the North, which means that the International Space Station will be illuminated even during late night passes above Santa Barbara as it circles the Earth every 90 minutes or so. This sequence will last into the second week of June, but I'll break it up into two reports, since orbital adjustments in the interim may make the later predictions less accurate. There will also be some bright morning appearances that you early birds can find at Heavens-Above.

On Thursday, May 16, the ISS will make a brief pop-up, starting at 9:38 PM PDT in the SW, climbing to an altitude of 23 degrees before vanishing in our shadow at 9:39 PM in the SSW.

Friday the space station will first make a bright pass rising at 8:47 PM in the SSW below Corvus, the Crow, sailing between the Moon and Spica, and setting in the ENE below the bright star Vega at 8:53 PM. Corvus looks more like a mast and sail, as Polynesian societies saw it, and in the modern consumer society it has been likened to a shopping cart. The ISS will reappear at 10:24 PM in the W near Procyon, pass by Pollux and Castor in Gemini, and vanish in the NNE at 10:29 PM below Deneb, the tail of the Swan.

On Saturday, May 18, the ISS will make a higher and brighter repeat of that trajectory, starting in the WSW at 9:32 PM, and ending in the NNE at 9:38 PM.

The highest and brightest pass will occur on Sunday, rising at 8:41 PM in the SW, and passing high overhead through the Sickle of Leo and the handle of the Big Dipper to set at 8:48 PM in the NE near Vega. Vega is also the movie star from "Contact". The ISS will make an encore appearance at 10:20 PM, much lower and dimmer over our mountains, from the NW to N, where it will disappear at 10:23 PM.

On Monday, the space station will make a low pass over our mountains, starting at 9:28 PM in the WNW, and ending at 9:33 PM in the NNE.

On Tuesday, May 21, it will repeat that path a bit higher in the sky, rising at 8:36 PM in the W near Sirius, passing by the feet of Gemini and the dim red glow of Mars, and then above bright Capella to set at 8:42 PM in the NNE by Vega.

The ISS will make very low and short passes, or brief pop-ups, some quite late, on the evenings of May 23, May 27, and May 29-31 before returning for another series of nice passes in early June. Stay tuned.

Hasta nebula.

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a-1558015334 May 16, 2019 07:02 AM
May's International Space Station Views

Clothing from our local S.B. Astronomical Unit at their brilliant and interesting website. Get involved. Father's Day is June 16, gift "out of this world" clothing:

a-1558017901 May 16, 2019 07:45 AM
May's International Space Station Views

"Crown Flash", in sky but not in galaxy, closer than ISS:

a-1558018061 May 16, 2019 07:47 AM
May's International Space Station Views

Crown flash is a rarely observed weather phenomenon involving "The brightening of a thunderhead crown followed by the appearance of aurora-like streamers emanating into the clear atmosphere".

a-1558025556 May 16, 2019 09:52 AM
May's International Space Station Views

Membership is $20/yr (or you can volunteer and membership is free).

macpuzl May 19, 2019 03:11 PM
May's International Space Station Views

A bit after tonight's (Sunday) bright ISS pass, the Chinese space station Tiangong 2 will pass nearly overhead, from SW to ENE, between 9 PM and 9:05 PM. It will be much dimmer than the ISS, but still about as bright as a fairly bright star. Tiangong 2 is currently unoccupied.

EastBeach May 19, 2019 09:18 PM
May's International Space Station Views

Just saw what I believe was the Chinese space station Tiangong 2 though its path seemed more south-to-north through Virgo. The ISS was cool too ... overhead and very bright.

macpuzl May 19, 2019 10:20 PM
May's International Space Station Views

That might have been the RESURS 01 rocket booster. Did it seem late and dim? The Tiangong 2 was on time, but I only caught the dim end of it because of cloud cover.

EastBeach May 19, 2019 11:58 PM
May's International Space Station Views

Yes, it was dimmer than ISS and appeared late, perhaps after 9:05pm. Interesting. Google says the last RSURS O1 satellite was launched in 1998. It never occurred to me a booster (space junk?) could stay in orbit that long.

macpuzl May 20, 2019 03:13 PM
May's International Space Station Views

Depending on the altitude of the orbit, stuff can stay up a long time. It's a real problem for the future of space flight.

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