I love how everyone is an expert, yet there are a some factual errors in the listed objections on here.
Here's the thing: I see a number of things that make it probable.
I also see a number of things stated on this thread that are not based on fact or are just incorrect.
Additionally, I don't know if it was real or fake, but some objections listed could easily apply to many APOD as far as image manipulation..
#1 As far as how large the ISS is....
It all depends on how high in the sky the ISS is passing over the camera.
Calsky--I have found very reliable--does describe said pass, at said location as being 24 arcseconds across.
The ISS was 1000km v the closest ~450km pass it could be.
#2 The brightness of an object's pass varies.
So the statements about your expectations of how bright or large the ISS should always be is uneducated.
#3 as to what Saturn or the ISS should look like:
I love the statement that the ISS would just be a streak of light.---you're wrong. I've shot the ISS numerous times on 30fps video and it's distinct shape can be resolved in individual raw frames. See my gallery-my animated GIFs are not stacked,but individual frames from my 4K videos.
I would be more impressed if you had the same equipment and showed your best shots....
And at least with my equipment I don't see much too doubtful---the enhanced detail maybe could be attributed to stacking of frames, good seeing, and color stretching done in post. Show me an APOD that is not stacked, or color manipulated....
#4 the black background and the time of day and no noise:here's a thought---darken the background to reduce the noise? An APOD have never had that before.
Here's the thing, it could be possible to catch the shot.
#1. the ISS and Saturn are regularly tracked and the math to calculate the pass can get pretty precise. Calsky has proven very reliable about passes from my experience.
#2. Calsky's centerline pass map is very helpful-one could use it to locate and stage their equipment to get the best chance for an exact occultation.
#3. I don't myself do a lot of stacking but I could imagine one could take frames from the video and stack them to improve the detail of the ISS and then blend it back in to the video or image. How is this different that AP'ers doing it with still photos?
#4. I've caught Saturn looking pretty much like that (without dark center ring) in 4K 30fps video with that color with my Sony a7s, but I wasn't using a tracking mount, so I'm not too skeptical about that.
#5. The orientation of the ISS is completely dependent on the location and point of it's pass, so I don't understand the objection that a shot from somewhere else hours earlier has anything to do with debunking said APOD.
That he had a video frame that landed in the exact middle in front of Saturn is very lucky, but I don't consider that conclusive to doubt.
Yes nowadays it's hard to be sure when one can manipulate photos and videos with even a handheld device.....
I've thought sometimes about setting up a video of me recording a video of a rare event in case their was any doubt.....
But when all is said and done...People will have their uninformed opinions and create noise on social media as if their statements have the exact same weight as people who actually have experience or correct knowledge of the matter......whatever.
If it is a fake (ie the material was not shot day or fabricated)...it is disappointing.
But it' also disappointing to see criticism based on things that are not factually correct either.
Feel free to challenge me..