Mar 25

ISS imaging – after a long a miserable break

Winters in UK are usually nobody’s favourite season, dump and grey for days and weeks. But occasionally we are given a day or two to do some level of astronomy photography. Not this winter though, it been tough for us, weeks, months few past without any break in this misery. I can certainly say it now, that we officially have the best break at the moment, constant sunshine, calm atmospheric conditions, no sign of jet stream and finally back to business. Last night I had a very favourable pass so after Venus imaging I prepared myself for the flyby.



So after the aforementioned misery I finally was back to business. Sky wasn’t as generous as it may looked at first glance. Because I just finished Venus UV imaging and hour earlier I already got a tase of very average seeing conditions, but I couldn’t care less. My bigger worry was the fog building up, but at some point it stopped and gone away.

I wasn’t aware of the arrival of a new Bartolomeo external platform‘s arrival. Station crew were moving it out from its transport vehicle, the last Dragon-1 orbital version from SpaceX ever visiting ISS (Crew Dragon or Dragon-2 takes over from later this year, marking the beginning of the CRS-2 missions). Bartolomeo seems to have a very similar role to Kibo’s Exposed Facility.

Sadly Bartolomeo not visible on my animations, but Dragon and Canadarm 2 are!


I even made a comparison with Philip Smith’s incredible ISS photo with the same Dragon spacecraft visible docked to Harmony module. On both photos you will see the cylindrical shape Dragon’s trunk section as we can almost look inside it.





Anecdote alert!

This is for those who think once you get some level of experience, you can’t make any silly mistakes. Let me assure you that I personally can lol!
I was taking the scope out expanded (it’s a flextube dobson and collapsable) after I finished with Venus imaging. I banged very gently the scope’s eyepiece holder to the door on my way out. It loosened up slightly, so had to tighten the screws with screwdriver. Then I saw the chosen star I’m trying to focus on is not really circular on my laptop screen, instead rather elongated and very unusually shaped. After checking everything and almost giving up due unknown issue I finally had the coin dropping moment –  realised that the star I was trying to focus on is a bloody double star. That was Castor! I was rushing and panicking so that I haven’t realise this very silly thing…

I felt relieved but also felt somewhat amateurish. We always learn and it especially true to me…


Skywatcher 10″ Flextube dobson
Zwo ASI224MC camera
TeleVue 2.5x powermate

London, UK

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