Since the amazing last week chasing the International Space Station and the approaching and eventually arriving japanese HTV-7 Kounotori (White Stork) cargo vessel, I have been waiting for the right evening to capture a real good shot of ISS. I managed to take a shot just before and after berthing to ISS, but that was a relatively low flyby. HTV-7 was visible, but I had the hunger for a smashing shot with the cargo craft nicely visible.
The flyby forecast predicted a real good over head pass with a maximum elevation of 86°. Weather was a huge question mark as always, forecast predicted a clear evening but I did not see at 2pm, how it will clear out. But it did eventually, so I packed up my gear and went to the local park. I recently purchased a Bathinov mask and now I have to admint the fact that I should have done it a long time ago… The sharpness is just amazing and I am very satisfied with result.
After quickly running through the frames this shot seemed to have the most details and have the right orientation to spot HTV-7. Also I marked other spacecrafts berthed to ISS, just like the Progress MS-09 cargo vessel or the Soyuz MS-09 vessel for human transportation.
HTV-7 is the largest cargo vehicle travelling to ISS at the moment. Its dimensions are 10m x 4.4m, which makes it quite larger than a Soyuz vessel (7.2m x 2.7m).
After carefully checking every single frame from the session, it became clear that stacking is possible. I found 6 consecutive frames with good overall sharpness, so I stacked them in Autostakkert 2. The result has been processed in Photoshop and it blew me away.
It already made me glad, how HTV-7 looks on my photo, one can easily make out the barrel shaped cargo vessel. On top of that stacking made it so clear, one can see the colour difference between certain elements of HTV-7 like the Propulsion module or Unpressurized Logistic Carrier.
Every time I assume that I reached the maximum capability of my equipment (below), something new comes up and totally blows my mind.
I love this hobby!
Skywatcher 250/1200 Flextube dobson telescope
Zwo ASI224MC camera
TeleVue 2.5x powermate