ISS and the Kids

iss-labeled-ani   This evening despite the low temperature the sky was clear, for a change, and after checking to see if there were any ISS flyovers and finding one about an hour after sunset I made my plans. This particular flyover would start at 6:12 pm CST as the ISS appeared above the northwestern horizon. It’s 6-minute path was toward the southeast and at its maximum altitude it would be around 45 degrees. From my Astronomy software I noted that its path would take the ISS past the North Star and then past Capella and the 3 ‘Kid’ stars in Auriga. From there it would angle down toward the southeastern horizon. Before fading from view the ISS passed near the reddish star Aldebaran in the v-shaped open star cluster the Hyades.
issdec26-ani   I was set up on my back deck so I knew it would be a minute or so at least before I could see the ISS over my roof. I had my camera set for 2-second shutter speeds, the ISO was set to 3200, and the aperture set to f4.5. As the ISS came into view I started hitting the shutter release as soon as each image was captured resulting in a series of streaks as the picture above shows.

Click on picture to see it screen-size.

Click on picture to see it screen-size.

   This picture is a composite of 19 separate pictures all taken with the same camera settings during approximately a 1-2 minute time span as the ISS traversed this part of the sky. I use a freeware software program called DeepSkyStacker to make images like this one. There is some blurring of the stars due to not using a tracking guide with my camera – to keep it aimed at the same part of the sky as the Earth rotates.

   Click here to read about and see additional pictures of the ISS and Iridium flares.

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

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