May 15

ISS – Full house on the Space Station



Always exciting when a new ISS imaging session begins. We are already in a very niche period of the year when ISS makes 4-5 flybys during the nights which gives plenty of opportunity to see it. Also ISS is in a so called High Beta Angle (more information in this great article written by Dave Dickinson on Universe Today), during this period the solar panels look somewhat weird and interesting.

It also means waking up in very very very unsocial hours! It is nearly summer time, Sun rises early and sets very late. Which also means that the only period when sky gets dark enough is roughly between 10pm-4am.

This ISS imaging session happened between 3:42am-3:48am and you can see on the animation above how sky brightens at a very fast pace. I already packed the car with half of my stuff (scope and dobson base), this way I do not have to wait for the scope to cool down. The atmostphere was more gentle this time around, you will find flyby and weather forecast details below.


This was my 3rd attempt in a row, 3 consecutive nights I have spent to get a capture I really wanted. But jet stream and bad atmospheric conditions made it very difficult. Because the early wake up I was not sure if I can continue like this, so I desperately wanted to get it done. The forecasts were promising which was a good start.


Imaging and analizing

The flyby was very bright as predicted, my manual tracking was not the best I ever done, but sufficient enough to capture the right amount of frames with ISS on it. Once the flyby was over I started to break down the video into individual frames in PIPP and packed away my equipment. At home I ran through the frames and I found a few promising ones. The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft (Commercial Resupply Services or CRS-17 mission) was immediately visible berthed to Harmony module nadir port.

The inspiration behind this imaging session was Christina Koch astronaut’s tweet. She is currently up on the station and she shared a photo taken from Cupola which shows both Cygnus NG-11 and Dragon CRS-17, two spacecrafts only arrived in the last two weeks.
I love taking images about the ISS when something interesting is going on….

And finally an animation with and without text marking all the docked/berthed spacecrafts.


Skywatcher 250/1200 Flextube dobson telescope
Zwo ASI224MC camera
TeleVue 2.5x powermate

Support me on my Patreon website. The video above is a preview from Patreon page. A tutorial in which I show you how I get the most out of my raw video and the frames.

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