Space Station Photo Of the Month

February 2024

Rafael Small

Image Details:
Equipment: ZWO ASI290MM, JURA 194/1450, SkyWatcher EQ5GT
Exif data: exp: 1,5ms, gain:110, 11x1000frame 10%
Processing: Firecapture, PIPP, Autostakkert3, Photoshop
Location: Hungary, Zselic Starry Sky Park, Zselic Park of Stars

I have been waiting for this transit for days. In terms of apparent diameter, it is not perfect, because the ISS was about 750 km away, i.e. the apparent diameter was 38″. In an ideal situation, the maximum is around 61″ from Hungary. therefore, the day before the photoshoot there would have been a 52″, but it was too difficult in the terrain, too far away.
The composition was inspired by the idea that there are a couple of people out in outer space with a space station, and with that they represent almost all of humanity’s sciences. It was a grandiose experience to see in articles how the space station was built, to see how they work and the traffic there… and it’s all there in the evening, sometimes as a bright “star” in the sky, sometimes in front of some celestial body and we know it from a cake plate to take a photo with carved glass :).
The recording was made in the evening on January 25, 2024, precisely at 19:46.
The panorama itself consists of 11 panels, one part of which included the ISS. Because of the Optolong IR pass filter, I had to increase the exposure a little and so I was able to expose the given area with 1.5 milliseconds.
The ISS has moved in, as well as 80fps – so the silhouettes of the space station do not “touch” each other. Of that, the portion is approx. Out of 20 images, I selected the one where the ISS was visible above a brighter area.
The picture was taken with a mono camera, but after the transition I went up to the telescope dome with a Canon EOS6D and with the 401/3250mm SC telescope I also photographed a stack of 10-10 images and then the Moon with normal RGB photos, stacking them together, increasing the color saturation, using them as a color layer the mono moon surface got the color layer.

I wasn’t the only one taking photos in the field! A good friend was also with me, who photographed the full moon and the transit with a 72/432 Evostar and an ASI533MC camera!

Please follow Rafael’s work on his Facebook page!

 

 

Previous month’s Space Station photos

 

2024 – January (Tomonaga Miyazaki)

2023 – January (Liu Boyang), 2023 – February (Andrew McCarthy), 2023 – March (Philip Smith), 2023 – April (Laurent Langelez), 2023 – May (Josh Palmer), 2023 – June (István Zoltán Földvári), 2023 – July (Thierry Legault), 2023 – August (Dr. Sebastian Voltmer), 2023 – September (Michael Tzukran), 2023 – October (Andrew McCarthy), 2023 – November (HEO Space), 2023 – December (Astronomy  Live)

2022 – January (Dr. Sebastian Voltmer), 2022 – February (Tom Williams), 2022 – March (Gábor Sági), 2022 – April (Dr. Sebastian Voltmer), 2022 – May (Boyang Liu), 2022 – June (Gábor Sági), 2022 – July (Andrew McCarthy), 2022 – August (Boyang Liu), 2022 – September (Tom Williams), 2022 – October (Michael Tzukran), 2022 – November (Philip Smith), 2022 – December (Michael Tzukran)

2021 – January (Michael Tzukran), 2021 – February (Christopher Becke), 2021 – March (Andrew McCarthy), 2021 – April (Sage Grey), 2021 – May (Josef Huber, Klaus Nagel, Tobias Lindemann), 2021 – June (Philip Smith),  2021 – July (Philip Smith), 2021 – August (Mark Cullen), 2021 – September (Maxim Khisamutdinov), 2021 – October (Michael Tzukran), 2021 – November (Antonio Vilchez), 2021 – December (Andrew McCarthy)

2020 – April (Philip Smith), 2020 – May (Andrew McCarthy), 2020 – June (Simon Tang), 2020 – July (György Soponyai), 2020 – August (AMOS telescope), 2020 – September (Tom Gwilym), 2020 – October (Tom Glenn), 2020 – November (unknown), 2020 – December (Alberto Mayer)

(click on names above to jump)

 

 

How to Submit your photo to become an IPOM?

If you think you have captured something incredible and International Space Station related, please send it to the following email address: metrolinaszabi@gmail.com

Please make sure your post contains the following:
– time/date the photo/animation was taken (UT)
– equipment
– flyby details (max. elevation, from – to times, brightness – these are optional details, not compulsory though but welcomed)
– write in brief story (if possible, not compulsory though)

 

January 2024

Tomonaga Miyazaki (Tomo)
Date/time: 2023/8/4 11:14:17 JST  (2:14:17 GMT)
Location: Kasamatsu, Gifu, JAPAN
Equipment
Telescope : Takahashi Mewlon-250 250mm F1Z
Mount : Takahashi EM-200 Temma2
Camera : Player One Astronomy Apollo-M MINI
Filter : Baader Planetarium ND 3.8

This sunspot was in the AR13386. It was very attractive, so I’ve checked the position of sunspots at home carefully before going out. After I’ve finished preparing my telescopes, a young man nearby told me, “This parking lot will be closing in 30 minutes.” so I hurriedly moved my telescopes, which caused me to break the USB connector and had a difficult time. However, at the moment of transit, the seeing was very good and I was able to take very sharp ISS. Furthermore, this sunspot caused an X1.6 flare 44 hours later, making it a much better memory!
Make sure you follow Tomo’s X account.

December 2023

Occasionally I do include slightly other-than space station photos and this one is going to be one of those! Usually these exceptions are spacecrafts or space hardware (like the Hubble Space Telescope), also satellites too. But this one is absolutely a unique one to me as well. What if I say this is not a spacecraft, but part of a once intact spacecraft/rocket? Namely a Starship!
So this photo was taken by Scott Ferguson. He runs a youtube channel called Astronomy Live, he is a regular ISS and rocket videographer. I have met him in person in the summer of 2022 in Florida and we watched together with the hungarian Spacejunkie Team an Atlas V launch which by the way was my very first rocket launch ever!
The background of this photo is simply staggering, I really would call it once in a lifetime event! I will let him explain what happened, these are his words:
Here’s the story for the photo. I used an 11″ Celestron NexStar GPS telescope and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K camera to track Starship as it rose from Islamorada in the Florida Keys. This was tracked using my open source RocketTraker software with a trajectory prediction file from FlightClub.io so that it would follow the expected position of Starship in the sky. I knew it was going to be a long shot as to whether I would even be able to spot Starship against the blue daytime sky on the video viewfinder camera, which is essentially just a security camera mounted on top of the telescope to help center on objects that I’m tracking. When I spotted the Starship explosion from the FTS system on my viewfinder camera, I quickly moved the telescope to get it centered on the vehicle. I found the top section of Starship tumbling and spewing residual fuel and tracked it until my telescope could no longer keep up.”
Watch his footage here and also follow either his youtube channel or his X account

 

November 2023

This section is usually about mindbending amateur space station photos, but every now and then I give way to exceptionally amazing professional photographs too. For this month I brought you not one, but two photos from a pretty interesting point of view. These photos were taken by HEO Space, a company which conducts on-demand non Earth imagery. I found them on X and some of their shots really blew my mind. Mainly because these images were taken from above the International Space Station ISS and the Chinese Space Station (CSS). Also they provided amazing renders too, so everyone can see what we supposed to see from these space stations. Do check out HEO’s X profile, they also shared images about the Hubble Space Telescope and the new Starlink generation 2 satellite, not even mentioning the incredible ISS shots.
Okey us amateurs can’t really compete with these shots, that’s true. But seeing our beloved space stations from above is pretty damn cool, right?

 

October 2023

I am absolutely honored to feature this incredible photo composite from Andrew McCarthy! Is is unique and outstanding in so many ways, just to look at it gives me chills!
Andrew McCarthy wrote:
“I’m thrilled to share the most science-fiction looking shot I’ve ever captured: here’s the International Space Station against the backdrop of Oceanus Procellarum on the moon. I’m absolutely obsessed with how this one turned out.
The full photo has all the detail you would expect from one of my moon images, but the presence of the ISS making it truly unique. I spent the last week making sure this image would look flawless in print, which you can pick up on my website this weekend only.”

Date/time: 2023/09/07
Location: Casa Grande, Arizona
Equipment: Celestron C11 SCT scope with ASI174mm, also 14” Skywatcher goto dobson telescope with a TeleVue 2.5x powermate with ASI662mc

Andrew McCarthy’s instagram and twitter account is so worth to follow!

 

September 2023

For this month I chose something unique – this time a satellite photograph from Michael Tzukran. Before his shot there was no ground based photo existing of SpaceX’s new generation v2.0 Starlink satellite. The level of details is simply breathtaking! Huge change in the Starlink satellite structure and size. The v2.0 satellites are much larger and they have not one, but two solar panels.
Starlink constellation from SpaceX remains a huge conversation starter among astronomers and everyday people. On one side SpaceX is offering unique internet services to its customers all around the globe. On the other hand they obstruct visual and radio astronomy which might have unpredictable consequences for humankind.
Tell us what you think about internet constellations below in the comment section!

Make sure you follow Michael’s twitter feed for the latest photographs.
Equipment: Planet Wave 24″ telescope with a Zwo 290mm camera. Satellite locking software.

 

August 2023

“International Space Station captured from my backyard. For this ISS shot I used an effective focal length of 2800mm 
Sebastian Voltmer is one of the most inspirational astronomer and ISS photographer I know of. On this photo you can see a lovely flare on one of the newly installed iROSA solar arrays. These solar arrays are meant to extend the capabilities of the ISS, supplying more power for experiments conducted on board.
He is super dedicated and the imagery he shares on his Instagram account is truly mesmerising. Make sure you will check out Sebastian’s incredible work on his website www.voltmer.photo, also you will find him on Twitter and on Instagram as well.

Date: July 10, 2023 Telescope: C11 EdgeHD Camera: QHY 5-III-462 C Mount: GM2000 HPS

 

July 2023

Always a pleasure to feature photos from the bests in this field. Please welcome Thierry Legault on Space Station Guys website. This is the very first time I can present Thierry’s mindbending work in International Space Station imaging and I am deeply honored to have the opportunity. Hopefully more of his work will make its way to this space on internet in various categories like ISS Transits.
Make sure you follow Thierry Legault’s work on his website and on Twitter,
Now let’s see what Thierry said about this incredible shot, which was taken during an EVA or as commonly known a spacewalk:

“Oops, I did it again…better! 😊
Yesterday, Steve Bowen and Woody Hoburg were in spacewalk for the installation of a new set of iROSA solar panels. For the occasion, I drove 6 hours from home to go to the Netherlands where a transit happened one hour after the spacewalk started. This time, the ISS passed in front of 3 sunspots groups in a split second! The big sunspot could swallow the Earth, but it is 300000 times farther than the ISS (150 million km versus 550 km).
All the individual images are single shots at 1/32000s. I never make ISS transits with stackings or assemblies! 😉 This reminds me of February 2011, when I filmed Steve in a spacewalk near the Discovery space shuttle.
I met him in 2019 in Houston together with Donald Pettit and Thomas Pesquet, they are fantastic guys!
Thank you to Charline Giroud for the help 😉
Instrument: CFF200 apo refractor, Baader Herschel wedge, Olympus OM-1, Emmanuel Rietsch’s GPS trigger. Photo of the setup in the first comment.”

 

June 2023

Astrosketching was the imaging technique in the past. All of the first astronomical observation of Moon and planets has been done by astrosketching. Basically one person sits by the telescope and draws whatever object can be seen in the eyepiece. There are still some amateur astronomers who does this old fashioned method. A of my friend from Hungary – István Zoltán Földvári has been telling me, that one day he will observe the International Space Station. Eventually he did and here is the result of his amazing observation. 
“For the first time in my life, I was able to observe the ISS through my telescope, which was a fantastic experience! Tracking it wasn’t easy. I saw certain segments of the station, I think maybe the radiators.”

Check out István’s youtube channel to see some of his amazing Moon sketches.

 

 

May 2023

Another incredible ISS photo, this time around from Josh Palmer. I do remember, when he was getting started with ISS photography and he came a long way since. His images and animation of the International Space Station is truly magnificent! This is his explanation of the imaging session, during which he managed to snap this great photo.

“This was captured so long ago, so I don’t remember many of the details besides what I have included in the image description below. I have been using my 16” dob for a while now, and the Skywatcher/SynScan Satellite Tracking app works very well. Unlike my C11 telescope, I don’t have the ability to automatically center with the guide cam, but my new setup makes it very simple to adjust the centering in real time. After capturing the raw video, I use PIPP to center and crop the SER file, then export to TIF format using SER player. Using Lightroom, I group and filter the images before stacking. Photoshop is then used to finish for presentation. Capturing the ISS remains my favorite form of astrophotography, and I look forward to every opportunity to see it!

Image Description:

International Space Station, 11/16/2022. Captured with Orion Skyquest XX16g, ASI174MM, 3x Explore Scientific Focal Extender, Baader 610nm filter, and Firecapture. Processed with PIPP, Autostakkert!3, Registax, Photoshop, and Topaz Denoise 6. Tracked with Synscan Pro Satellite Tracker. Stack of 30 frames. The maximum height was 84° and seeing was Excellent.”

Make sure you follow Josh Palmer’s facebook account!

 

 

April 2023

What an incredible photo by Laurent Langelez! He managed to capture the International Space Station and the approaching Crew Dragon spacecraft at a very close proximity. Everyone who ever tried to capture anything similar might know, how difficult it can be to capture anything remotely similar.
Make sure you follow Laurent’s website!

Meade 300mm, EQ6 mount, Zwo ASI 174 camera and barlow lens (magnification to be determined around the 9m focal length), Baader 610nm filter
At 70° of elevation.

 

March 2023

This amazing composition taken by Philip Smith shows both of the currently existing space stations on orbit around Earth. On the right side there is the International Space Station, and next to it on the left the Chinese Space Station. Through Philip’s photos we get a good idea about how large they relative are to each other.

‘I put my CSS and ISS into this one image to share with you. This is the setup and information for each of them. 1st the CSS > History was made with 6 Chinese astronauts now onboard Tiangong. I had the rare opportunity to record this HISTORY over my home. I imaged the Chinese Space Station ( Tiangong ) on 12-02-22 Max 80° 5:55pm EST in average seeing conditions from my Manorville NY Observatory.
My imaging configuration was an Edge HD 14″ telescope with and Red Chroma 1.25″ filter on a ZWO ASI174MM camera and Baader 2x Barlow Lens. All on a modified Orion Atlas EQ-G mount setup in Alt-Az configuration. 2nd ISS > I also imaged the SpaceX Crew-3 Endurance, docked to the International Space Station at 8:33pm EST on 04-02-22, from my Manorville, NY USA backyard observatory. The pass was at max 84° but, the full sky had a thin layer of clouds.
This image is a stack of 50 frames from my recording. My imaging configuration was an Edge HD 14 ′′ telescope with and Baader Red 610 nm Longpass 1.25″ filter on a ZWO ASI290MM (mono) camera No barlow, all in a MoonLite focuser on a Atilius Orion EQ-G mount modified.’
Check out Philip’s facebook page for more of his work!

 

February 2023

Andrew McCarthy is not a stranger to this website. He keeps on taking our breath away with his incredible International Space Station (ISS) transit shots. This time around the ISS was travelling (transiting) our celestial neighbour. These are Andrew’s words about the event:

“I captured an incredibly difficult shot: ISS transiting the moon, while gently kissing Tycho crater as it flies by at 5 miles per second. That crater is 53 miles wide, so while the station almost looks like it’s orbiting the moon it’s actually 1000x closer to us. The field of view of capture was quite narrow, so the rest of the moon was assembled as a mosaic. That creates a super detailed image without sacrificing the composition.

There will be a print available on my website, check the link in my bio (cosmicbackground.io) if interested.”

Date/time: 2023/01/04 at 23:08 MST
Location: Florence Arizona
Equipment: C11/asi174mm & Sony a7II

Andrew McCarthy’s instagram and twitter account is so worth to follow!

 

January 2023

Please make sure you check out Liu’s twitter account for more of his excellent work!
“I spend a whole year going after the CSS. 63 observations, 34 successes, in 17 cities, over 50000 kms flight.
On March 18, I began coding a tracking program to control the telescope. Within 5 days, I was able to tracking a moving bright spot with a EQ mount. I failed for 5 times trying to actually capture the ISS or CSS until April 2, when I first captured the ISS. Then on April 19, I got the CSS for the first time. It was a great timing: after the departure of Shenzhou-13 on April 16, the CSS had finished its Key Technology Verification Phase and began the Construction Phase. Then CSS applied a series of transformations within 8 months, forming 13 configurations during the Construction Phase. 2 of the configurations are identical (Configuration 9 & 11, as explained below), so there’re altogether 12 different configurations during this period. And I captured all of them. There might be more than one shot for each configuration, whereas only one is selected for presenting here.
4.19 Configuration 1: Tianhe-Tianzhou-3(rear)
4.20 Transformation: Tianzhou-3 switched to front port of Tianhe
4.21 Configuration 2: Tianzhou-3(front)-Tianhe
5.10 Transformation: Launching of Tianzhou-4
5.16 Configuration 3: Tianzhou-3(front)-Tianhe-Tianzhou-4(rear)
6.5 Transformation: Launching of Shenzhou-14
6.12 Configuration 4: Tianzhou-3(front)-Tianhe-Tianzhou-4(rear)-Shenzhou-14(radial)
7.17 Transformation: Departure of Tianzhou-3
7.20 Configuration 5: Tianhe-Tianzhou-4(rear)-Shenzhou-14(radial) [The only configuration shot in solar transit as there was no chance for tracking at night during that week.]
7.24 Transformation: Launching of Wentian Module
8.1 Configuration 6: Wentian(front)-Tianhe-Tianzhou-4(rear)-Shenzhou-14(radial)
9.30 Transformation: Wentian switched to right lateral port of Tianhe
10.18 Configuration 7: Wentian(starboard lateral)-Tianhe-Tianzhou-4(rear)-Shenzhou-14(radial)
10.31 Transformation: Launching of Mengtian Module
11.3 Configuration 8: Mengtian(front)-Wentian(right lateral)-Tianhe-Tianzhou-4(rear)-Shenzhou-14(radial)
11.3 Transformation: Mengtian switched to left lateral port of Tianhe
11.7 Configuration 9: Mengtian(left lateral)-Wentian(right lateral)-Tianhe-Tianzhou-4(rear)-Shenzhou-14(radial)
11.9 Transformation: Departure of Tianzhou-4
11.10 Configuration 10: Mengtian(left lateral)-Wentian(right lateral)-Tianhe-Shenzhou-14(radial)
11.12 Transformation: Launching of Tianzhou-5
11.13 Configuration 11: Mengtian(left lateral)-Wentian(right lateral)-Tianhe-Tianzhou-5(rear)-Shenzhou-14(radial) [Identical to Configuration 9, not included in the figure]
11.29 Transformation: Launching of Shenzhou-15
12.3 Configuration 12: Shenzhou-15(front)-Mengtian(left lateral)-Wentian(right lateral)-Tianhe-Tianzhou-5(rear)-Shenzhou-14(radial)
12.4 Transformation: Departure of Shenzhou-14
12.10 Configuration 13: Shenzhou-15(front)-Mengtian(left lateral)-Wentian(right lateral)-Tianhe-Tianzhou-5(rear)
Most shots were taken with a Celestron 11″ Edge HD. A 50mm Lunt Telescope was used for the solar transit. A Celestron 14″ Edge HD was used for Oct 18. Several different cameras was used, including Canon EOS R5C, ASI 178MM, PlayerOne 533M, QHY5III 585c. The coding of the tracking pipeline were completely on my own, but I’m gratitude for all the inspiration provided by SkyTrack (by Brent Boshart), OpticTracker (by Chenwei Ma), and SatTraker (by Astronomy Live). The great works by Michael Tzukran, Philip Smith and Ralf Vandebergh have been my source of motivation. “

 

December 2022

Here is an amazing photo from Michael Tzukran. Not the first time I am sharing his work, but this time I bring your a photo he took on the 2nd December 2022 from Tel Aviv during BROAD DAYLIGHT with that beautiful Planet Wave 24″ telescope and an IR camera. This is one of his first shots during daytime and definitely more to follow.

To not miss his work, make sure you follow Michael’s twitter feed for the latest photographs.

 

November 2022

China’s Wentian lab module was moved to the “side port of the space station’s node cabin,” on 30. 09. 2022. The Tiangong space station is now in an L shape as a result. I imaged the Chinese Space Station (Tiangong) in a new configuration on 11. 10. 2022. image far right. I imaged the center image of CSS (Tiangong ) on 19. 09. 2022. before Wentian moved and docked to the space station’s node cabin. I imaged the far left image of Tianhe-1 is the “Core Module” also known as (“Harmony of the Heavens”)
Images were in 2021-2022 by Philip Smith. Check out Philip’s facebook page for more of his work!

 

October 2022

This incredible photo of the one and only International Space Station was taken by Michael Tzukran from Tel Aviv, Israel. Michael is an important figure at Tel Aviv University, he and the team assembled there an amazing 24″ telescope with a purpose of purely imaging satellites including the ISS. This photo is one of the first ones since the installation of the scope finished. The prospect of this observatory regarding satellite imaging is huge. Many more photos will follow in the future. Make sure you follow Michael’s twitter feed for the latest photographs.

Planet Wave 24″ telescope with a Zwo 290mm camera. Satellite locking software.    Seeing 3/5      Maximum elevation: 80 deg.     Brightness: -3.5 mag

 

September 2022

Tom Williams is one of those ISS photographers who already has been in this section of Space Station Guys website. His work is truly amazing and this time I will bring you a unique animation from him. Check out Tom’s twitter profile and be amazed!
This is daytime ISS! Let’s see the details of his capture.

Daytime was 5:55 UT (6:55 local) on 31 August 2022.
– 35% of 500 raw frames stacked per frame of animation in a kind of moving average. I.e frame number 100-600, 200-700, 300-800 etc. (Animation). Then the best of the stills was separately processed for the single image.
– 0.75ms, 183 gain (24%), 175fps @ 2000×1080 ROI.
– Skwatcher 400P goto (16″ tracked Dob), 2x Barlow, UV/IR cut with Uranus-C (IMX585) at 3600mm f/8.8.
– 6/10 seeing, 8/10 transp.

 

August 2022

Animation was taken by Boyang Liu. Look up more of his work on his twitter account. These are his words about how he took these incredible photos:

“More than 3 months after my first success in CSS tracking, I had recorded every stage of its construction after each docking and undocking of various modules. This is the latest and maybe the best yet, for the stage after Wentian has docked with the Core module but not yet swithc to the side portal. The weather was wet, hot and cloudy in the low altitude, but the seeing looks quite good. I didn’t find a good place to go, just randomly chose a road-side with bright streetlights and trees hanging around. So I only got the central part of the passing, which is enough for me. We can see various features in this movie, including the Shenzhou-14, which is docked towards us and can be seen as a relatively moving spot — the movement creates a feeling of 3D. The solar wing of Wentian has a node at 1/5 length, it is used for its initial deployment and can be clearly seen here. Some interesting structures are shown at the head of Wentian, but I’m not sure what they actually are, maybe including the secondary robotic arm?”
Equipment:
Celestron CGEM+EdgeHD 11″, Canon EOS R5C
Guided with QHY5III178m+12mm lens and a homemade TLE+optical tracking pipeline
Date and time:
Aug 1st 2022 at ~4:30a.m. (UTC+8)
Location:
Beijing, China
Settings and processing:
Cropped to Super 16mm (2.9K), recorded with Raw HQ at 120fps, ISO 1600, 1/2000s.
Each consecutive 480 frames were grouped together into AutoStakkert!3, 80% best frames were stacked.
Minor adjustments with Lightroom.

 

July 2022

“I deprived myself of sleep last night to chase this ridiculous shot down- the sunlit international space station transiting the last quarter moon.
It sailed past Eratosthenes, Copernicus, Kepler, and was on its way to Aristarchus when I captured this moment. My camera was shooting at 155fps during the pass. It was only in the frame of view of the camera for about a quarter of a second.
There will be a print available on my website for a short time, check the link in my bio (cosmicbackground.io) if interested.”

Date/time: 6/21 at 5:15am MST
Location: Florence Arizona
Equipment: C11/asi174mm & Sony a7II

Andrew McCarthy’s instagram and twitter account is so worth to follow!

June 2022

 

Amateur photographers from the United Kingdom were incredibly lucky this May. The Boeing Starliner OFT-2 mission kept us all at the edge of our seats since this was a repeat of the not so perfect OFT-1 mission. From the UK we were gifted with clear sky and good flyby opportunities of the International Space Station – which meant good opportunity for the Boeing Starliner as well. We saw Starliner approaching the ISS, we photographed it REALLY close to the station and also when it was docked to it.
This incredible animation was taken by Gábor Sági from Oxford on 20th May 2022. The new Starliner spacecraft is only approximately 200 meters away from the ISS! I can’t emphasize enough how rare an opportunity like this really is. The ISS flyby times should be convenient, just like the timing of the approach, the position of the spacecraft relative to the station, the season (now we’re in High Beta Angle season when ISS constantly illuminated by the Sun) and of course the sky should be clear. So many totally individual factors must align for a photo opportunity such as this one.
Check out a video summary of all the great photos and videos of the event I know of on this youtube link.

Equipment used for this imaging session: 14″ Dob with manual tracking, ZWO ASI 174MM mono camera with A.P 642 IR PASS filter, 3x Barlow lens
Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

May 2022

 

For May I choose this incredible animation from China, taken by Boyang Liu. Look up more of his work on his twitter account. These are his words about how he took these incredible photos:

“I started thinking about tracking the space stations from 2020, but all previous attempts using existing softwares found online end up with failure. On March 18th 2022, I finally decided to code my own Python script to do this. The first method I tried was to use TLE predicted speed assisted with manual correction but soon found it unreliable after my first failed test. I switched to the second method, optical detection and tracking, on Day 3 and was able to track a moving bright spot on Day 5. Then it took me 12 more days (4 more failed tests) to get my first succesful shot of the ISS. Then I waited another 2 weeks for the next passing of the Tiangong (Chinese Space Station). The first reachable passing was on April 19th 2022, when I drove 3 hours from Beijing to Hengshui to get a closer look. The attempt was successful, I had more than 2 minutes’ stable tracking with tracking error < 5 arcmin for most time, as shown in the attached diagram. I stratigically altered the pointing of the polar axis to avoid the meridian flip and achieve an optimised y-axis tracking precision. This strategy allowed the optimal recording of the closest part during the passing.

In this animation, we can clearly identify the robotic arm parking along the Tianhe Core Module. We can also identify that the Tianzhou cargo ship is connected to the back portal of the Core Module. This changed 2 days later when I had my second shot of the Tiangong: the Tianhe Core Module switched direction and the Tianzhou cargo ship was connected to the front portal of the Core Module on April 21st.

Equipment: Celestron CGEM+EdgeHD 11″, Canon EOS R5C. Guided with QHY5III462c+12mm lens and a homemade optical tracking pipeline
Date and time: April 19th 2022 at ~5:00a.m. (UTC+8)
Location: Hengshui, Hebei, China (37.66144N, 115.67719E)
Settings and processing: Cropped to Super 35mm (5.9K), recorded with Raw ST at 60fps, ISO 3200, 1/1400s. Each consecutive 450 frames were grouped together into AutoStakkert!3, 50% best frames were stacked. Minor adjustments with Lightroom.”

 

April 2022

Spacewalkers Imaged From The Ground

This incredible photo was taken by Dr. Sebastian Voltmer german astronomer. Make sure you will check out Sebastian’s incredible work on his website www.voltmer.photo, also you will find him on Twitter and on Instagram as well.

“During the spacewalk of the two astronauts Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer the International Space Station appeared shortly after sunset in the bright evening sky over Germany.
This image of the ISS pass was taken on March 23, 2022 under good seeing conditions through my C11 EdgeHD telescope from the hometown of ESA astronaut Dr. Matthias Maurer. The docked SpaceX Dragon capsule, with which the astronauts of Crew-3 flew to the ISS, is clearly visible.
Three years ago I got to know Matthias Maurer at our SpaceStudio Weltraum-Atelier in Nohfelden, Germany which is located near to Matthias‘ hometown.

Additional fun fact: I produced the song for his ISS mission, “Cosmic Kiss”

For the local press in Germany, I first published an initial photo highlighting where Matthias Maurer appeared on the ISS. Due to my time constraints, I released this version right away on the internet, which then went viral, while I continued to work on the final image version with both highlighted astronauts.
Already two days after the spacewalk happened, Philip Smith contacted me. He is a world well-known photographer of all things ISS and has been published in many forms of media. Philip Smith with his ISS obsession, noticed on my picture that NASA astronaut Raja Chari is also detectable – on the robot arm “Canadarm2” – and he created a wonderful combination picture shown here with an insert from the NASA livestream. I feel like I just made a once in a life time historic image. It’s probably the first ground based image showing two spacewalkers on the ISS at the same time.”

 

March 2022

This incredible photo of the International Space Station was taken from Oxford, UK by Gábor Sági amateur astrophotographer. With his 14″ dobsonian telescope he managed to take approximately 3000 frames and only this one turned out to be good. But I mean very GOOD!
Please find equipment details on the photo. Also please make sure you follow his work on Twitter, totally worth doing so!

 

February 2022

This is a fantastic animation of the International Space Station passing in front of the Aristarchus crater, which is actually overlapped by the  ISS, really cool shot! It was taken by Tom Williams astrophotographer.  Make sure you will check out Tom’s fantastic work on his instagram and twitter accounts.

20% of 5,000 frames (lunar detail) with a single frame of the ISS super-imposed.
Transit settings: 0.129ms & 155 gain, 1936×1096 @ 136fps. I almost missed the transit due to orbital element inaccuracies (both transit-finder.com & Stellarium have been wrong for multiple observers).
Equipment: Skywatcher 400P GOTO (16″ Dob), ZWO ASI462mc, Baader RG610 longpass. Native 1800mm f/4.4. ISS size was around 50″ at 63° altitude.

 

January 2022

“Cosmic Kiss | When the International Space Station ISS with our astronaut Matthias Maurer on board passes the current New Year’s comet Leonard, there is – as in this “long” exposed image – a trail crossing the comet.”

This fantastic photo was taken by Dr. Sebastian Voltmer german astronomer from La Palma. Make sure you will check out Sebastian’s incredible work on his website www.voltmer.photo, also you will find him on Twitter and on Instagram as well.

 

December 2021

 

Photo taken by Andrew McCarthy. “By positioning myself at just the right point on Earth and just the right time, I can capture the silhoutte of the International Space Station against the bright sunlit moon. These fleeting events last only moments, and in this case the ISS was only within the frame of my camera for 1/25th of a second.

This image is one of the clearest transit pictures I’ve captured so far, with the ISS captured at a whopping 2800mm for extreme detail. The final image was created as a mosaic, by stitching together the rest of the moon to the frame that included the ISS, making a crystal clear portrait of that moment.”

Andrew McCarthy’s instagram and twitter account is so worth to follow!

 

 

November 2021

 

This fantastic animation of the Chinese Space Station (CSS) was taken by Antonio Vilchez. Apart from the great quality of the footage it is worth noting the unusual orientation of the station. It is approaching to the observer sideways – this is most likely a slight rotation caused by the Shenzhou-13 which was docking to CSS shortly before this footage was recorded! The rotation is most likely corrected since and all went back to normal on the Chinese Space Station.

Please make sure to follow Antonio on his twitterastrobin and facebook profiles.

 

 

October 2021

 

This is not the first time I choose Michael Tzukran’s work as ISS photo of the month, but this is the first time I share something I think an extremely unique result even among ISS photographers.  The level of details on this photos is really outstanding. I could start naming the incredible features like the Super Draco thrusters on the CRS-23 (since undocked) cargo spacecraft, or the BEAM expandable habitat, the newly docked Nauka module etc.  I recommend you to take your time to take a good look at this ground based photograph and marvel, how far photography got in the past decades!
Michael’s equipment: custom fork mount on 16 sct” camera 174mm. Location: Tel-Aviv, Israel   Date: 14.09.2021

If you like Michael’s work, make sure you follow him on his Instagram and/or Twitter profiles.

 

September 2021

 

High resolution International Space Station animation in colour – Maxim Khisamutdinov

Animation ISS in color 29.08.2021 04:46:00 GMT, altitude ~80 degrees, 29 frames.
Mount eq8 evilmode v3. seeing 3/5, transparency 5/5 (1-bad, 5-excellent). Celestron C14 XLT (~4 meters-direct focus) + GSO 2 ” focuser + Baader IR-cut + asi462mc. 160fps 600×400, mono12, gain 250 (overdone), shutter speed 0.8 ms. Adding 30% of 280 frames in AS!3 with wavelets, 100%.

Make sure you visit Maxim’s Astronbin picture gallery

 

August 2021

 

International Space Station streaks through Leo Triplet taken by Mark Cullen.

The photo was taken with a 132 FLT refractor, ASI 294 camera, single exposure. I really love this composition, it must have taken some planning ahead! Unique, because the brightness of the International Space Station make it the third brightest object in night the sky after Moon and Venus. The galaxies though are very faint objects and to photograph them one needs an equipment capable of tracking the night sky to be able to take long exposure photographs.

Make sure you check out Mark’s Twitter and Flickr accounts!

 

 

July 2021

 

Usually I try not to choose photos in consecutive months from the same photographer, but Philip captured something new and exciting a few days ago. In his words:

“I imaged on 06-30-21 at 6:44am EST in a max ISS pass of 82° the “ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA)” The imaging all took place from my backyard observatory in Manorville NY, USA. After looking over my recorded ISS video, I was very happy to see I just imaged a new part of the new history of the ISS solar panel system. My imaging configuration was the same for both Space Station images. It was an Edge HD 14 ′′ telescope with an Baader Red 610 nm Longpass Filter 1.25″ on a ZWO ASI174MM (mono) camera at full sensorI 1936 x 1216 and Baader Planetarium Carl Zeiss 1-1/4″ 2x Barlow Lens.
The Roll Out Solar Array(ROSA) and its larger version ISS Roll Out Solar Array (iROSA) are lightweight, flexible power sources designed by NASA to be deployed and used in space. This new type of solar array provides much more energy than traditional solar arrays at much less mass.
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet with the European Space Agency (ESA) completed a six-hour and 45-minute spacewalk on Friday (June 25), during which they install the second of six new International Space Station (ISS) Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSA). The pair previously worked together during spacewalks on June 16 and June 20 to deploy the first new array.
Friday’s extravehicular activity (EVA) positioned the second iROSA opposite the first on the far left (port) side of the space station’s backbone truss. Now both the 2B and 4B power channels on the port 6 (P6) truss have the new arrays deployed”

Check out Philip’s facebook page for more of his work!

 

 

June 2021

 

All images were from my backyard observatory in Manorville NY, USA.This is a composite image of the International Space Station that I imaged on 05-06-21 and the Chinese Space Station Tianhe-1 Core Module that I imaged on 05-19-21. Please Note: My imaging configuration was the same for both Space Station images. My imaging configuration was an  Edge HD 14 ′′ telescope with an Baader Red 610 nm Longpass Filter 1.25″ on a ZWO ASI174MM (mono) camera at full sensorI 1936 x 1216 and Baader Planetarium Carl Zeiss 1-1/4″ 2x Barlow Lens. This is to scale and would look like if the two Space Stations were flying side by side. I think I am the first amature astronomer to get these high resolution images of the Chinese Space Station to make this composite image. The International Space Station and Chinese Space Station were imaged at the same height. I hope in time to get even better images to share. For know I have truly documented history with my images and for the space community.

Check out Philip’s facebook page for more of his work!

 

 

May 2021

 

These photos were take by 3 gentlemen from Germany in 2010! The incredible quality of this photo is just staggering, let’s remember digital photograpy was only taking off at that time. I am extremely happy to have these photos on this website (find more in Guest photos section here).

 

April 2021

 

58″ transit on November 10th, 2019. Transit duration across the whole moon was 0.57s. The surface of the Moon is stacked. Equipment: Celestron NexStar 8SE, Orion Atlas EQ-G, ZWO ASI224MC, ZWO ASI183MM-Pro, Baader 610nm Near-IR Filter.

Make sure you go and check out Sage’s website, also his instagram profile too.

 

March 2021

 

The ISS winked at me this morning!

At 2:44am this morning, I positioned myself so the ISS would pass between the moon and I so I could get this shot. What I didn’t expect was for the ISS to look so different than usual. Turns out, half the arrays are at an angle in prep for an EVA, so I got a cool, rare shot of a mission happening over our heads! And to top it off, right over my favourite lunar crater. What a world.

I have a write-up of how this shot (and other ISS shots) are planned for and captured on my patreon if you’re curious. They take a fair amount of preparation but anybody can do them! I also shared two videos from this transit so you can see how it looked in real time.
EdgeHD800, Zwo ASI178mm, colour capture afterwards with a Sony A7ii, Hobym traveler mount

Andrew McCarthy’s instagram and twitter account, also you can purchase Andrew’s photos here

 

February 2021

 

I knew I had several opportunities to catch the ISS in the vicinity of comet NEOWISE, but this night presented a very close pass right through the tail. When I saw I would have clear skies, I headed out to my favorite spot at the middle of a dam with relatively low light pollution and clear views to pearls the horizon. I would say I packed up my equipment, but it had already been in my car for the past week of comet chasing! The SkySafari Pro app allowed me to properly frame the comet in anticipation of the ISS pass. Arriving at the dam, I aligned the sky tracker and mounted the camera. After several test shots, I just set my remote shutter to take continuous 30 second exposures. This is a composite of three photos taken at 2:05 a.m. UTC Sunday, July 19 2020 (10:05 p.m. EDT local). I used a Canon T5i (crop frame) DSLR with a Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 lens mounted on an iOptron SkyTracker. Each photo was 30 seconds at ISO 400. Check out Christopher’s twitter account.

 

January 2021

International Space Station with Resilience Crew Dragon and CRS-21 cargo spacecrafts by Michael Tzukran

Gear: c14 +gm2000 hps upgraded + barlow +extender +174mm asi   Date: 19/12/2020    Hour: 05:48

Location: israel – Tel Aviv University, elevation: 73º

I choose this incredible photo for January, because this is most likely one of the best quality photos of the International Space Station with not one, but two SpaceX spacecrafts docked to ISS. This configuration has never happened before!

SpaceX is achieving huge milestones now with their new Dragon-2 spacecrafts for both human and cargo flights. On the center bottom of the Space Station one can observe the Perseverance Crew Dragon spacecraft (vehicle for Crew-1 mission docked to forward docking port of Harmony module). But slightly left from Perseverance also the CRS-21 mission spacecraft can be seen (docked to zenith docking port of  Harmony module). 

Incredible!

 

 

December 2021

 

Our community has been extremely excited about the launch of Crew-1 mission and the Resilience Crew Dragon spacecraft. Many of us is trying to capture the International Space Station with this historic spacecraft (see all the amateur photos of Demo-1, Demo-2 and Crew-1 mission here). But the details Alberto Mayer has captured lately is something unusual, only a handful of people has the right equipment, the perseverance and the dedication to capture something like this. These are Alberto’s words:

First processing of today’s ISS video shoot with the SpaceX Crew-1 Dragon docked. The 47° passage wasn’t very close. ISS was in fact 562 km away exactly like the distance between Busto Arsizio in Latina but seeing conditions were good so the result was unexpected. I hope I can improve with a second process.
Update: friend Philip Smith informs me that solar panels are no longer deployed so the image has been updated.

Equipment details on the photo!

 

 

November 2021

 

This photo of the very young International Space Station was taken allegedly in 2001. I sadly don’t know any details about the photo, who took it with what equipment (if you happen to know the origin of the photo, please contact me).

We celebrated the 20th anniversary of continuous human presence on board the ISS. What an achievement!!

 

October 2021

 

I tracked the transit line for days leading up to the event, as the path width was approximately 90m according to Calsky. The ground track was moving by several hundred meters at a time, even in the final 24 hours leading up to the event. So, I had to scout several locations and then make my best guess of where to set up and hope for the best. The final chosen location was on a grass field in a park northeast of San Diego. Despite setting up directly on the predicted centerline, you can see from my composite image that the exact centerline would have been perhaps a few dozen meters away, which is reflective of the error associated with the predictions. The ISS was already high above the horizon when it exited Earth’s shadow about 40s before the transit. It started out very dim as it caught the sun, and then quickly progressed to approximately magnitude -4 (brighter than Mars at mag -2) before the transit. I started recording raw video at t-minus 30s to transit, and then watched by naked eye as the ISS increased in brightness as it streamed directly towards Mars. Just before “impact”, I looked at my computer monitor, and saw it flash by, within <1s accuracy of the predicted time. It was an incredible feeling!

Date and time: September 14, 2020 at 05:15:47 (PDT) Location: Northeast of San Diego (approx. GPS 32.9112N, -117.0816W) Altitude of ISS above horizon: 49 degrees Magnitude ISS: -4 Telescope: C9.25 Edge HD  Focal length: 2350 (f/10) Camera: ASI183mm (no filter)  Shutter speed: 0.35ms  Gain: 300 (66%)  Camera ROI: 5496×1500 pixels  Frame rate: 41fps  Mount: CGEM  Seeing conditions: average  Transparency: Poor from the CA wildfires  Software: Firecapture for recording and PIPP for extracting frames

Processing: Individual frames presented with minimal processing, only a levels adjustment (white and black points) and slight tone curve in Photoshop, very slight denoise. The composite is made by overlaying individual frames using “lighten” blend mode. No image stacking was done. Only individual exposures are presented (with composite as described). The YouTube video is made using the raw video converted into a format that can be opened and edited in iMovie, and so represents the original video data.

More of Tom’s work at his Flickr page, also on his Instagram and Twitter profiles.

 

 

September 2020

 

For September’s ISS photo of the month I choose something unique. This photo shows the space station at a very early stage of its life when it was still under construction. This photo was taken in 2002! Also Space Shuttle Atlantis was docked which makes this shot even more unique.
Find more close up photographs of the International Space Station here.

Find more of Tom’s work on his older website and his current website.

 

August 2020

For August I have something unusual for you!

This page has become home for some of the best amateur International Space Station photos in the world. This time around I will make an exception and will feature something we don’t get to see very often, a professional photograph of the ISS. This incredible photo was taken from Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site (AMOS) with a large 1.6m telescope. Sadly I don’t have more details about the equipment.
The level of details are quite remarkable. Please take a couple of minutes to lose yourself in this photograph. We don’t see the entire station itself, all solar panels are out of the camera’s field of view, just like the russian Zvezda module. The Crew Dragon vehicle shows some fine details on the trunk like its fins, even the IDA (International Docking Adapter) is clearly visible which the Dragon is docked to.
Also the expandable BEAM modul is lovely, next to it the Cupola with some of the windows open. Also the Quest Airlock is incredible. I just love this photo, we only able to see this level of astonishing details when a russian spacecraft comes around and showing the ISS though its external camera.

 

July 2020

This picture is the result of a 33-hour-long photo experiment I had been planning for more than two years. Besides analemmas and solar eclipses, whole-day-long Little Planets were always on the top of my photo wish-list. The air was very humid and partially cloudy. From 10:00 pm to 04:30 I took the startrails but I was not satisfied seeing the result. From sunrise to sunset I took photos of the Solar disk every 20 minutes. By the afternoon my shoulder and back became completely sunburnt (this year I forgot bringing sunscreen instead of the spare batteries :).

After sunset I started recording the startrails again with red lights of observing lamps of fellow amateur astronomers in the foreground. Before midnight International Space Station flew through the Northern sky — it’s visible on the photo too. In the morning of third day I retook some solar disk photos as the first ones of the previous days had been slightly underexposed and my photo experiment was completed after 33 hours.

2016.07.28-30. Tarján, Hungary Canon EOS 5D Mark II + Sigma EF 8/4.0

More of György’s work at Flickr profile.

 

June 2020

Skywatcher Esprit 150 Skywatcher EQ8 Rh Pro Lunt 2″ Solar Wedge (Herschel Wedge) ZWO ASI174MM 27.04.2020 Palmdale, California.

More of Simon’s work on his Instagram profile.

 

May 2020

Here’s a my image of an ISS transit last night. This was taken at 11:59:12PM in my backyard in Elk Grove, California. ISS Angular Size: 59.78″ Moon Phase: 96.9% Waxing Gibbous Transit Duration: .47s This was captured using a reduced EdgeHD 800 with an ASI1600mm running at unity gain at .6ms which captured the ISS along with the luminance data (2000 frames of R), then 100 frames in each R,G,and B filters to draw out the colour.

The ISS was captured in 6 frames out of 2000, which were separated, stacked, sharpened, and overlaid back onto one of the areas captured in the pass, which was overlaid with a LUM layer created by taking the rest of the 2000 frames of the moon in the red channel. The moon wouldn’t quite fit in the field of view, so the full size image is a 2 panel mosaic.

More of Andrew’s work on his instagram profile.

 

 

April 2020

The SpaceX Dragon CRS-20 cargo spacecraft was captured with the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2 by NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, with Andrew Morgan of NASA acting as a backup, on 9 March 2020 at 10:25 UTC (06:25 EDT). The CRS-20 Dragon spacecraft was launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on 7 March 2020 at 04:50 UTC (6 March, at 23:50 EST).

I imaged the SpaceX Dragon CRS-20 cargo spacecraft from my backyard Manorville NY, USA backyard. The telescope was an Edge HD 14″ with an Astrodon Red filter on a ZWO ASI174 mono camera and 1.6 barlow lens. The ISS and SpaceX Dragon CRS-20 passed time was at 6:47am EST at Max Pass 84°. The sky clear 20 minutes before imaging. Then it happened…. Fast moving low fog like clouds covered the sky at the time of the ISS Pass. The ISS brightness was at -3.9 and the Sun was at -15.3° below the horizon. Funny think happened. I could see the ISS in the clouds. The clouds made for a diffuse light like filter on the ISS. I had a little GOD help I would like to think.

More of Philip’s work on his facebook page and also on twitter.