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December Space Stations and Mars Meets the Moon

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Chuck Mcpartlin

Both the International Space Station and China’s space station, Tiangong, will fly through Santa Barbara’s evening skies to say goodbye to 2022, weather permitting. Their trajectories can change, and I’ve only listed the highest and brightest events, so to get the latest and most complete predictions, Heavens Above.

On Saturday, December 3, the ISS rose in the north-northwest at 6:11 p.m. increase.

Get two passes on Sunday. The first is a low-flying north-east-east between 5:23 PM and 5:26 PM, below bright yellowish Capella and disappearing into the Earth’s shadow by bright red Mars. It makes a short popup on its next orbit at 6:58 PM, rising northwest, rising toward bright Vega, but fading before reaching it.

Monday’s pass is brightest, beginning at 6:10 PM in the northwest, passing through Draco to Cepheus, Cassiopeia, and Andromeda, and disappearing over the crescent moon in the east at 6:13 PM.

Tuesday will again have two passes, starting with a bright pass N-NW at 5:21 pm, passing under the North Star, across the dimmed Caropardaris, passing through the constellation Perseus and above the Moon. seat and is set to ESE at 5:27 PM. From 6:58 PM to 7:01 PM, the station returns to the west-southwest low-ocean transit, fading into the Great Bikini Bottom in the sky below Saturn in Capricorn.

Lots of good skies on Pearl Harbor Day Wednesday. First to appear is the Chinese space station, Tiangong, rising northwest of Hercules at 5:59pm, passing through Little Dipper’s Bowl, and fading out at 6:02pm north-northeast of Dim He Camelopardalis. To do. Then, at 6:09 PM, the ISS rises WNW of Hercules, flies Fomalhaut above Saturn under bright Altair, and is set in SSE’s Sculptor at 6:15 PM. At about 6:30 PM, the bright Full Moon makes a spectacular occultation of Mars, and at about 7:30 PM, Mars pops up from behind the Moon. Mars is usually so small that it would be a shame to see it in all but very large telescopes under perfect sky conditions, but now backyard telescopes can see some of the surface like the polar ice caps. It’s close enough to show a feature.

Thursday’s high, bright ISS pass begins in the NW at 5:20 PM, passes from Hercules to the Saddle at the center of Cygnus, Pegasus, and enters Cetus in close proximity to brilliant Jupiter, and passes SE at 5:26 PM. ends with . With binoculars, you should be able to spot her four Galilean satellites of Jupiter. Currently, there are up to 80 known satellites. Callisto and Io lie to the east of Jupiter, and Ganymede and Europa to the west.

On Friday, December 9, the Temple of Heaven will appear in the northwest at 5:39 p.m., passing Hercules over the bowl of the Big Dipper and entering the Hyades, the V-shaped star cluster that forms Taurus’s face, in the afternoon. Disappears at 5 o’clock. :44 PM in the north-northeast. Then, at 6:09 PM, the ISS will fly low over the ocean horizon from Hercules in the WSW to Grus, Crane in the SSW, ending at 6:11 PM.

The final ISS pass in this sequence rises WNW at 5:19 PM on Saturday, a slightly higher and longer version of Thursday’s pass, set at 5:24 PM in the South. Can you see very bright Venus very low? On the WSW horizon? The ISS then transitions to the pre-dawn pass to close out the year. Tiangong appears WNW at 6:17 PM, travels in the beak of Cygnus, the neck of Pegasus, from Hercules to Albireo, and disappears SE at 6:21 PM.

Tengu Pass at its brightest begins on Sunday, December 11, WNW at 5:18 PM and continues overhead from Hercules to Draco, Cepheus, Andromeda, Aries and Cetus, ending ESE at 5:25 PM .

Celebrate the official start of winter in the northern hemisphere at the summer solstice on Wednesday, December 21st at 1:48 PM.

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