Space Station Photo Of the Month
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!
Previous month’s Space Station photos
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)
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please make sure your post contains the following:
– time/date the photo/animation was taken (UT)
– 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)
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.
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.
– 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.
Celestron CGEM+EdgeHD 11″, Canon EOS R5C
Guided with QHY5III178m+12mm lens and a homemade TLE+optical tracking pipeline
“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
Locazion: Florence Arizona
Equipment: C11/asi174mm & Sony a7II
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
“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.”
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.”
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!
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.
“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.
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.”
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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!
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).
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.
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
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.
International Space Station with Resilience Crew Dragon and CRS-21 cargo spacecrafts by Michael Tzukran
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).
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!
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.