Saturday, August 18, 2007

Space Station Cuts Handle of Big Dipper

UPDATE: Thanks to my buddy, Geoff, for making this animated GIF.

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Last night I had such good luck seeing the Space Station with the naked eye, that I thought I would try to get a picture of it tonight. Keep in mind that this is a 6 year-old camera that I've only ever used in 'Automatic' mode.
The ISS was due in 15 minutes so I got out my rickety tripod (steadier is better, right?)
Then I had to find the manual for the camera. (how the heck do you take a Time Exposure with this thing?)
The nearest thing I could find in the manual, to a TE was the 'Shutter Priority' mode and the longest exposure I could take was 8 seconds.
"Well, that will have to do", I thought.
My first shot was just to get the feel of tripping the shutter release while the camera was on the tripod.

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"Here it comes", Mrs. Geezer cried.

These next 4 pictures are 8-second exposures of the Space Station heading for my house. The bushes and sheds are being lit with a Sodium security light that I have near the round pen for the horses.

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When I realized that the ISS was going to fly out of my shot, I tilted the camera up towards the Big Dipper and clicked another exposure.
I'm really proud of the way it turned out, it looks like the Space Station is cutting the handle of the Big Dipper. You can see the power lines in the lower left corner.
Click the photo for a bigger version.

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This is just a combination of being in the right place at the right time.

And lots of luck.

Comments:
Excellent shooting, RG.
Neat stuff.
You have the makings of a new career.
 
Great shot RG. I linked ya from JYB.
 
Nice job. I can't see any of that with the city lights.
 
I assume that is a long exposure, or does the station look that friggen big?

I can't see jack from here, can barely make out mars, 1/8th of the time, and the other 7 I can't see it at all.
 
RG, you ought to send that into NASA's . You done good!
 
Okay, it stripped out the HTML, this is the URL http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
 
Oh very cool!
 
Thanks everybody for the links and nice comments.

Cranky, thanks for the suggestion. I sent my photo in.
 
did ya take a potshot at it?
 
Best picture of the Big Dipper I have ever seen. Thanks!
 
We've seen the ISS 5 days in a row now. Tonight it was a lot farther south when we first saw it.
I can't quite get my head around how the orbit seems to change.
Anybody have an explanation?
 
It isn't that the orbit changes signfificantly it's that the ISS is in a "high eliptical" or is it "elyptical?" orbit around the earth, so it is constant crossing the earth at a severe angle, Rand simberg had a thing about this, actually he had several things about this saying that the ISS was a surrender of western society to the soviet union.

Russia/the still soviet nations, cannot deliver a lowe eliptical (equatorial equivalent, I think is what that means) while the US has florida, and if we had any good sense we also have hawaii, not to mention NM, AZ and Lower california to establish equatorial (which I guess is a more valuable area of space for maintenance and research)

The ISS was positioned in a high eliptical (spelling?) for the purposes of being available for russian participation, because it would be almost impossible for russia to dock with an equatorial orbit.

Anyways, the reason I say that, is because of your question about how the view of the station changes as it passes over utah.

The reason is, that the station has a longer orbit than most satelites, and it is actually a "slower" orbit than the rotation of the earth becauses of it's orbit. You will notice that the station moved, each day, further and further in one direction, while the stars stayed where they were, that isn't because of rotation, but because of an off center orbit from the Northern earth polar constant, or rather the inefficent oblique approch towards continued orbit.

Rand also had a thing about how short the Space shuttle gets to be in space, because it is short on fuel after only a week, well, the shuttle did much more than a week in the past, but the reason is that the shuttle loses maneuvering fuel in order to align itself with the ISS.

Ain't we so nice? we pay for 8/9ths of russias contribution to the ISS, but we piss away billions for each maintenance mission, ain't we so friggen greedy.

Fact be told, at the time of the ISS Russia had no right to be a part of it.
 
Wow!
That, my friends, is an interesting, informative comment.

Thanks, Douglas.

BTW, I sent the last picture (full size) to the Astronomy Picture of the Day site.
I don't think they will use it but one of the editors, Robert Nemiroff, replied that he liked the shot.
They have some pretty amazing shots daily.
I'm afraid, my picture is too amateurish for their site,
 
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