Sunday, July 17, 2011

If At First ...

I've made several attempts to photograph the International Space Station as it traversed the lunar and solar disks. I've never been all that happy with the results.

I tried again today.

Clocks synchronized with their atomic brethren at Boulder, CO, I hit the shutter release at 8:09:23 AM. Cries of "there it is" coincided with the shutter clicks. Got it!

Click to Bigafy

This is a composite of nine images, each showing the ISS against the disk of the sun. Four sunspots are also visible.

The sun was relatively low in the sky, approximately 24° above the horizon. This meant that transit would be a long one, 1.49 seconds. The trade off being that the ISS was farther away, and thus smaller than if the transit was overhead. 

As with the previous attempts I was not alone, I was with a party of eight this time. Six of us shooting. My camera was set to continuous shooting, a 100-400 mm zoom lens attached, and proper solar filter* on. We all had frames with the ISS (not guaranteed, as my friend Drew tells how he got very nice before and after images one outing!). 

*Never look at the sun without proper filtering! 

This is a cropped image, 400 mm just isn't enough focal length. Everyone else was imaging with telescopes. I briefly toyed with using my 60 mm Hα scope, but having never shot through it I played it conservatively and used the lens. Perhaps next time.

My best so far, but still not anywhere near what others have accomplished. I guess I'll just have to keep trying.


Anonymous said...

I am strongly envious of your success in this adventure, and incredulous of your bravery at even thinking of looking at the sun. I am Dumbstruck and believe me that don't happen often.
Yippee, Thanks.

Guy said...


I love your shots of the space station that is quite an accomplishment. It really rekindled my interest in the night sky and our space artifacts.