The ISS for Early Autumn
By Chuck MacPuzl
The International Space Station will make a few visible evening passes through Santa Barbara skies over the next week or so. I'm only including the easily visible evening events here. Its orbit can also change a little, so to get the latest and most complete predictions, visit Heavens Above.
On Sunday, October 6, the ISS will rise in the NNW at 8:07 PM PDT, pass through the bowl of the Big Dipper, and vanish into the Earth's shadow in the N at 8:09 PM, just after passing below rather dim Polaris, the North Star.
On Monday, it will appear at 7:19 PM in the NNW and pass low over our mountain horizon, from below the Big Dipper to just above the head of Aries, the Ram, in the ENE, where it will disappear at 7:23 PM. It will make a brief pop-up on its next orbit at 8:55 PM in the WNW, fading out just below Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown.
Tuesday's pass will be the best and brightest, rising at 8:06 PM in the NW in Canes Venatici, the dim Hunting Dogs that chase Ursa Major, then cruising through the legs of Hercules, by bright Vega high in the sky, and then fade away at 8:10 PM high in the SW right next to Albireo, the beak of Cygnus, the Swan. If you look at Albireo through even a small telescope, you will see that it is actually a pair of stars, with one blue and one yellow, so it is often called a Cub Scout star. The light you see from Albireo was emitted by those stars right around the time Galileo was looking at the sky through his telescope. The color of a star tells you its surface temperature; hotter stars are more blue, and cooler stars are more red.
On Wednesday, the station will appear in the NW at 7:18 PM, and pass through the bowl of the Big Dipper, then along the Little Dipper and Cepheus, the King, and across the top of the Great Square of Pegasus before disappearing in the ESE at 7:24 PM.
Thursday, October 10, will have a pass that starts at 8:06 PM in the WNW and cruise low by orange Arcturus, along Serpens Caput and the waist of Ophiuchus, then above bright Jupiter and below Saturn to end low in the SSW at 8:11 PM.
Friday's path will be a higher version of Thursday's trajectory, rising in the WNW at 7:17 PM, and ending at our ocean horizon in the SSE at 7:24 PM.
The ISS will take a day off, then return on Sunday for yet another, lower repeat of Thursday's path, starting at 7:18 PM in the W and skimming our ocean horizon to trace the body of Scorpius, the Scorpion, ending in the SSW at 7:21 PM.
If you're an early bird, the ISS will be making several morning passes through October and early November, and will return to our evening skies on November 18.