Beginning Photography

The musings of a budding photographer


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A bit of a departure from the norm today.  I discovered a website,, that gives information on various objects in space. Of particular interest is the ISS, you select your location on the map provided and the site tells you when the ISS will be above 10 degrees from the horizon from your vantage point. It also tells you the time it will be highest in the sky and the angle made, and of most interest when it will actually be visible. That is, when sunlight will be striking it. Do the maths and the ideal orbit is one that occurs within an hour or so of sunset so that lots of light is striking the ISS while the sky itself is dark.

Anyways, why am I telling you all this. I’m telling you all this because it turned out there were two passes this evening for viewing in England. I caught the second one, at 6:28.  It takes some getting your head around, the ISS barely crossed England, right at the tip of Cornwall. I’m 300 miles north of it and yet could see it plain as day in the sky. The resulting images are below. In the second image you can see how the Sun set on the ISS, it gradually fades to nothing. It actually glowed a little red watching with the naked eye

Both of these images were captured with a 30 second exposure, F5.6, ISO 200. The second one is substantially more zoomed in as the track ended about 10 seconds into the exposure leaving a lot of frame.

This was pretty cool to do, I’m now trying to figure out how to make the shot a little better. Atlantis is apparently docked with the ISS right now, my plan is to find out when they separate and hopefully get a snap of them separated. One day I’ll get a pic of re-entry too, but I’m pretty sure that Atlantis won’t enter the atmosphere early enough to see from England.

Written by James

November 20, 2009 at 8:02 pm

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