2017 January 25
ISS visible again in the evening sky
During the first 2 weeks of February the International Space Station (ISS) is making a series of passes over the UK during the early evening (around 18:00 / 19:00UT). Always fun to watch if the skies are clear, the space station is a great way to introduce space and astronomy to friends and neighbours, particularly children. And of course, as an extra talking point, Venus will be a brilliant beacon in the south-west at this time. In fact Venus at mag -4.6 will make an interesting magnitude comparison with the ISS.
From London particularly good passes (i.e. high elevation) are:
Feb 2 at 18:50, mag -3.3, max elevation 63 degree in SSE
Feb 3 at 17:58, mag -2.8, max elevation 46 degree in SSE
Feb 4 at 18:42, mag -3.4, max elevation 85degree in S
Feb 6 at 18:34, mag -3.4, max elevation 86 degree in N
On Feb 2 the ISS passes just a few degrees south of Venus.
The London times given above are when the space station will first appear in the west. Maximum elevation occurs a couple of minutes later. For a complete list of pass times and locations visit the Heavens Above web site at http://www.heavens-above.com and either select a location or enter your latitude and longitude.
Since 2014 the ISS has been equipped with high definition earth viewing cameras. These can be accessed at https://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/ESRS/HDEV/. If the image is blank it means that the ISS is on the night side of the Earth.