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  ISS (but no shuttle) seen from Seattle

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Author Topic:   ISS (but no shuttle) seen from Seattle
tegwilym
Member

Posts: 2284
From: Renton, WA USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 07-05-2006 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Saturday was my last chance to get a good view of the ISS over Seattle for a few weeks. I took some shots of it, and also put a bunch of them together for a little animated image. I was really hoping to see Discovery pass a few minutes later, but of course it was still bolted to the ground in Florida when the ISS came by.



Most of the frames were kind of blurry, I'll have to try 1/1000th second next time I get a chance instead of 1/500th second. Always a learning experinece with this frustrating (but sometimes rewarding!) hobby.

Tom

spaceman1953
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Posts: 933
From: South Bend, IN United States of America
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 07-05-2006 03:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ok, Shuttle but No ISS !

Last night....10:25 PM local time....the Shuttle was scheduled to fly overhead. We got a GREAT clear night, so I was out, this time with binoculars, which I usually don't carry....7 X 50's, I think they are....
and right on time, as advertised, flys over the Shuttle.

Now what is different this night for me, is that through the binoculars, in addition to the bigger, brighter "star" light, I "thought" I could see a darker Shuttle-shaped outline about the light. Is that possible ? With Indiana's change to Eastern Time and Daylight Savings Time thrown in, it still is not entirely dark at that time of night....there was a 1/3 Moon crescent....of course, without the binoculars, you could see no sense of a shuttle-shaped shadow.

Oh, and another part of that is, it was while you were looking "away" from the object that you could see the shape clearer, like when looking at some stars and planets, you look away from them to get a better look at them.....it helps alot.

So, since the Shuttle had just launched some 8 hours previous, was the orbit so low and with it being somewhat "twilight" and not total darkness, could I indeed have seen some "shadowy" image of the orbiter itself ?
Any thoughts ?

The ISS was scheduled to be over at 11:11 pm, I believe, but it was too low on the horizon, so I did not expect, nor did I see it fly over.

But TONIGHT, July 5 is a different story....I got a good show scheduled with both flying over a few minutes apart before docking on Thursday.....just after 10 PM.
And the sky should be as clear as last night !

Yeehaw !

Gene Bella

tegwilym
Member

Posts: 2284
From: Renton, WA USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 07-05-2006 03:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gene,
I think it could be possible to see the shuttle shape with binoculars. I haven't tried it yet, but as you can see I could get the station with a telescope. I have seen the ISS/shuttle docked several years ago. This image was taken with my smaller 8 inch Meade LX90 telescope, so it can give you an idea comparision of how big the shuttle would look in relation to the ISS : http://www.eastsideastro.org/observatory/spacecraft/ISS_oct13.jpg

I'm sure when you used "averted vision" to see the shuttle clearer it would definately improve your view. That's pretty much the only way you can see some objects through a telescope - look off center and the dim fuzzy will show a little more detail. It has something to do with the rods and cones in the eye (I forget the details) but basically our eyes are pretty lousy at night for looking directly at things!

Tom

quote:
Originally posted by spaceman1953:
Now what is different this night for me, is that through the binoculars, in addition to the bigger, brighter "star" light, I "thought" I could see a darker Shuttle-shaped outline about the light. Is that possible?

[This message has been edited by collectSPACE Admin (edited July 05, 2006).]

Jake
Member

Posts: 451
From: Issaquah, WA U.S.A.
Registered: Jun 2002

posted 07-06-2006 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jake   Click Here to Email Jake     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very nice Tom...!

------------------
Jake Schultz - curator,
Newport Way Air Museum (OK, it's just my home)

mikepf
Member

Posts: 351
From: San Jose, California, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 07-06-2006 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikepf   Click Here to Email mikepf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello,
I had the great pleasure of seeing the Shuttle and the ISS fly over last night. It simply amazes me that we can actually see these things in-flight. Thought I'd take the opportunity to toss out another thanks to Tom for the advice you gave me way back when I did my first Shuttle spotting back on STS-112. I'm still using an old pair of binoculars and the old eyeballs, but its thrilling just the same. Thanks also for posting the scope photos!
Regards, and happy spotting,
Mikie

tegwilym
Member

Posts: 2284
From: Renton, WA USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 07-06-2006 04:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm glad I could give some good advice! I really should step backwards and try using simple binoculars and see what it looks like, but I always have to make things difficult and use several thousand $$ worth of gear to look at things.
Hehe!

-Tom


quote:
Originally posted by mikepf:
Thought I'd take the opportunity to toss out another thanks to Tom for the advice you gave me way back when I did my first Shuttle spotting back on STS-112. I'm still using an old pair of binoculars and the old eyeballs, but its thrilling just the same.

spaceman1953
Member

Posts: 933
From: South Bend, IN United States of America
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 07-06-2006 05:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, Tom from Seattle, many thanks for the pictures AND the follow-up words to my sighting report......

Last night the ISS and Shuttle were over at 10 PM and 10:06 or so.....even though it was earlier, the "Shuttle shadow" shape was gone through the binoculars, so the orbit could easily have been higher than the first night, and even though it was alot lighter at that time, the shape was gone....I had always been attributing the shape being becuase of the lighter-ness light of the sky than what we usually have for our local viewing times.

The "averting eyes" probably has some technical term too.....I took out my "garage sale" telescope last night, but not having (yet) a firm, right-height place to set it, I could not focus in on either moving object.

The Shuttle "snuck" up on me....I was expecting it to be just a bit different in altitude.....61 degrees max. elevation, conmpared to 77 degrees max for the ISS...but the difference was not that great at all.

Tonight they will be joined, of course, and only 22 degrees high, so virtually no chance to see them tonight...just not high enough.

Thanks again....and like someone else said "Happy Viewing !"

Gene Bella
South Bend/Walkerton/Plymouth

tegwilym
Member

Posts: 2284
From: Renton, WA USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 07-06-2006 06:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't even bother trying to image the ISS unless it's at least 70+ degrees up. The more painful the knees from squatting under the scope while steering, the better the image!
Anything lower than that an it's is so far away that you don't see much detail. When I get a good pass at 80+ degrees, I get a pretty nice image as long as I keep it centered and have the exposures set right. I can't tell you how many times I try this and I get nothing but a blurry blob. It's takes patience and a lot of tries to get a good shot.

Tom

quote:
Originally posted by spaceman1953:
Tonight they will be joined, of course, and only 22 degrees high, so virtually no chance to see them tonight...just not high enough.

Thanks again....and like someone else said "Happy Viewing !"


[This message has been edited by collectSPACE Admin (edited July 06, 2006).]

MCroft04
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Posts: 1219
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 07-06-2006 09:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For us ameteurs, what kind of telescope do you use and how do you keep it centered on the ISS?

tegwilym
Member

Posts: 2284
From: Renton, WA USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 07-07-2006 12:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MCroft04:
For us ameteurs, what kind of telescope do you use and how do you keep it centered on the ISS?

I took these with a 12" Meade LX200 which is a large scope, but I've also done it with my smaller 8" Meade LX90 (most of these are taken with the smaller scope: http://eastsideastro.org/observatory/spacecraft.html)

The LX90 DOES have a feature to track the ISS automatically if you have the current TLE data downloaded, but you have to be extremely accurate on your alignment to have it work. I've tried a few times, but the thing just ends up pointing at my left big toe! :-)
For these images, I just use a Vesta Pro webcam ($30 on Ebay) and a Telrad finder. Start the computer recording, and just move the scope tube by hand keeping the ISS centered in the finder as best as I can. I then watch the .avi file and pick out each frame that has an image. Not too hard but it can take a few tries to get it right!

Tom

Scott
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Posts: 3293
From: Houston, TX
Registered: May 2001

posted 07-07-2006 08:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is an amazing animated GIF, Tom!

tegwilym
Member

Posts: 2284
From: Renton, WA USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 07-07-2006 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by tegwilym:
http://eastsideastro.org/observatory/spacecraft.html
Correction to the URL, I had a ")" stuck at the end that didn't belong there.
I have a couple of ISS animations there also that have Atlantis docked from a few years ago.


FutureAstronaut
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posted 08-19-2006 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FutureAstronaut   Click Here to Email FutureAstronaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Going back to an old topic, has anyone seen the ISS in this wave of sightings? I saw it for the first time on Thursday night. The skies were so clear, and the stars were so beautiful. I had never seen it before, and didn't really know what to expect.

It was brighter, larger, and faster than I imagined!

I was at my grandparents house. Their friends from Virginia were staying here for a couple of days, and I got them to come look too. They live in Condo's, so they know everyone. I went around knocking on doors, and telling people to turn their outside lights out.

Nobody around there even knew it was possible to see. Pretty soon we had a group of about 20 people out there, heads pointed up. One neighbor actually brought out a telescope.

After the time had passed, and nothing came, everyone was ready to go inside, and a bright star began flying through the sky. It went from the horizon, over our heads, and down on the other side, in a total of about 5 minutes.

With the telescope, I couldn't really make out the shape, but I could see stars that were impossible to see with the naked eye. As I followed the ISS with the telescope, the stars flashed by, giving me an idea of how fast it is.

We saw it again last night for about a minute. It was great. My grandparents friends said that was the best part of the trip!

We can see it again tonight at 8:25, but it probably won't be dark enough. That is for 6 minutes, and again for less than a minute at 10:04. Will it still be visible for that period of time?

Seeing it for the first time was an experience I will never forget. Hopefully someday I will be watching as my house flys by.

------------------
Mike

[Edited by FutureAstronaut (August 19, 2006).]

lunarrv15
Member

Posts: 1295
From: Cincinnati, Ohio, Hamilton
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 08-20-2006 12:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarrv15   Click Here to Email lunarrv15     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I witness ISS consecutive three nights. First night by accident as I was looking for a comet through a bonacular (sp). Saw a moving light through it. looked away seeing with my eye only.

Came inside an looked up its path on J-Pass and for sure it was it.

went out the other night and it flew pass the same route from southwest to north

tegwilym
Member

Posts: 2284
From: Renton, WA USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 08-21-2006 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Our club put on a 2 night star party this weekend up at Deception Pass north of Seattle. I did a "campfire talk" on basic astronomy both nights at the campground. It was very nice of NASA to work with me to arrange a good ISS flyover both friday and Saturday nights for us! :-)
I tried to capture some images of the ISS on Saturday with the scope, but unfortunately, my scope got covered with dew and fogged over when it passed so I got nothing. I'm hoping for clear skies around Sept 1, when it should make some good photo passes over Seattle, and the shuttle will be there too.
...fingers crossed for clear skies.

Tom

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