Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

The ISS reaches out and touches Mars, transit on September 14, 2020

  • Please log in to reply
95 replies to this topic

#1 Tom Glenn

Tom Glenn

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 3,650
  • Joined: 07 Feb 2018
  • Loc: San Diego, CA

Posted 15 September 2020 - 09:03 PM

This one was an adrenaline rush, and full of countless near panic attacks.  The ISS was destined to cross paths with Mars near San Diego on Monday morning, at 05:15:47 local time, yet the ground path of visibility was changing by several hundred meters every few hours over the final 24 hours, and the margin of error was approximately 100m on the ground, with the ISS being more than twice as large as Mars in apparent diameter.  Add to that thick smoke and haze in CA (that miraculously let up slightly before the event), and it was a nail biter.  

 

I'll start with the punchline.  Despite several horrifying near catastrophes, it did work out!  I made a short video that hits the highlights and uploaded to Youtube.  Hopefully it works because I have no experience here.  

 

https://youtu.be/oHcMvF-nP2s

 

Shown below is a single individual frame, of 0.35ms exposure, taken with the C9.25 Edge HD and ASI183mm at f/10.  The only processing done here is stretching the levels and applying a small tonal curve, with some denoise.  The ISS is brighter than Mars, but the difference is not nearly as much as with other objects.  You can clearly see Syrtis Major on Mars.  The very edge of one of the solar arrays is just touching the disk of Mars, so I'm calling this a transit!  In fact, I like this shot because neither object is obscured, and it somewhat looks like the ISS is reaching out and grabbing Mars (or Mars is scoring a goal through the solar arrays, pick your analogy!).  I had no idea what I was going to get here.

 

Mars_ISS_single_frame_v2.jpg

 

The final moments were dramatic.  The ISS emerged from Earth's shadow at t-minus 40s to transit.  It was already well above the horizon, but had been traveling in shadow until slightly before the transit.  The ISS flickered for a few seconds, very dim, as the solar arrays started to catch the sun, and then quickly surpassed the brightness of Mars just before the transit.  I started the recording at t-minus 30s.  My shutter speed was 0.35ms, but I could only manage 41fps frame rate with my ROI.  This was intentional, however, because I wanted to use a short and wide ROI, aligned with the long axis of the sensor along the predicted trajectory of the spacecraft, to try and get a scanning shot from right to left across the full sensor.  That is exactly what happened.  When I saw the ISS flash across the screen it was a very good feeling, but I could tell that the trajectory was ever so slightly below the disk of Mars.  But when I looked at my image files, I was happy with the result. 

 

Shown in the next post is a composite of each frame containing the spacecraft, blended using "Lighten" mode in Photoshop.  

 

Edit: I also added these two images to Flickr, and the links are below.

https://flic.kr/p/2jH5Dnu

https://flic.kr/p/2jH6zRa


Edited by Tom Glenn, 16 September 2020 - 05:52 PM.

  • Dave Mitsky, Diego, Greg K. and 112 others like this

#2 Tom Glenn

Tom Glenn

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 3,650
  • Joined: 07 Feb 2018
  • Loc: San Diego, CA

Posted 15 September 2020 - 09:04 PM

Mars_ISS_series_TG_small.jpg


  • zjc26138, Magellanico, JMP and 37 others like this

#3 petert913

petert913

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,985
  • Joined: 27 May 2013
  • Loc: Silverton, OR

Posted 15 September 2020 - 09:05 PM

That is freaking amazing !!  Coolest thing I've seen in a long time.   What are the odds to capture that ??



#4 Az Frank

Az Frank

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,570
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Tucson Arizona

Posted 15 September 2020 - 09:08 PM

Great catch! Amazed how your able to catch a tough fast moving object so clearly.



#5 The_8_Bit_Zombie

The_8_Bit_Zombie

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 296
  • Joined: 29 Apr 2016
  • Loc: Southern California

Posted 15 September 2020 - 09:34 PM

Wow! What a cool shot



#6 Tulloch

Tulloch

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,562
  • Joined: 02 Mar 2019
  • Loc: Melbourne, Australia

Posted 15 September 2020 - 09:35 PM

That is frickin excellent Tom, a magnificent triumph, you even had a bit of luck on the highlight frame :).

 

Love the video too.



#7 maadscientist

maadscientist

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,063
  • Joined: 08 May 2013
  • Loc: Atlanta, Georgia and Deerlick Astronomy Village

Posted 15 September 2020 - 09:39 PM

Outstanding capture!



#8 sunnyday

sunnyday

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11,276
  • Joined: 23 Sep 2019
  • Loc: the Canadian nebula .

Posted 15 September 2020 - 09:41 PM

you must be an amazing sniper, wow, thanks.



#9 astrodom

astrodom

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 360
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2008
  • Loc: NY , USA

Posted 15 September 2020 - 09:45 PM

Wow!  Amazing capture!



#10 jerobe

jerobe

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 905
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2017
  • Loc: Southeast Texas

Posted 15 September 2020 - 10:00 PM

This is an amazing sequence.  Incredible image(s)!



#11 Sunspot

Sunspot

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10,343
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2005
  • Loc: Surprise, AZ

Posted 15 September 2020 - 10:10 PM

bow.gifbow.gifbow.gifbow.gifbow.gifbow.gif


  • kbev likes this

#12 leviathan

leviathan

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,046
  • Joined: 29 Nov 2011
  • Loc: Azerbaijan

Posted 15 September 2020 - 11:34 PM

Amazing !



#13 kel123

kel123

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,077
  • Joined: 11 May 2019

Posted 16 September 2020 - 12:36 AM

This should win an award right away. Make sure you enter it for every award under the sun. Simply amazing

#14 Tapio

Tapio

    Aurora

  • -----
  • Posts: 4,795
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2006
  • Loc: Tampere, Finland

Posted 16 September 2020 - 12:40 AM

Excellent catch.



#15 wargrafix

wargrafix

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,434
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2013
  • Loc: Trinidad

Posted 16 September 2020 - 03:31 AM

Hail to the king!



#16 happylimpet

happylimpet

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,963
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Southampton, UK

Posted 16 September 2020 - 03:48 AM

Well done! Superb result for so many reasons. I dont recall ever saying this before, but APOD material.



#17 R Botero

R Botero

    Gemini

  • -----
  • Posts: 3,424
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Kent, England

Posted 16 September 2020 - 03:53 AM

Just incredible!  This is an outstanding image bow.gif

 

Roberto


Edited by R Botero, 16 September 2020 - 03:53 AM.


#18 Foc

Foc

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,505
  • Joined: 17 Nov 2016
  • Loc: South Canberra

Posted 16 September 2020 - 06:04 AM

What  a dream shot!  Terrific work and a nice bit of luck!



#19 df_2112

df_2112

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 88
  • Joined: 28 Nov 2007

Posted 16 September 2020 - 06:13 AM

Awe Inspiring!  To even think to try to tackle such a feat, let alone plan and then ultimately pull off all of the technical nuances is nothing short of amazing! 

 

You are on a totally different level...Thank you for sharing..



#20 kathyastro

kathyastro

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,621
  • Joined: 23 Dec 2016
  • Loc: Nova Scotia

Posted 16 September 2020 - 06:56 AM

WOW!!  Just the planning to be in the right spot with +/- 100m accuracy at the right time boggles the mind.  Congratulations on getting the shot!  Definitely submit it to every contest you can think of.



#21 aeroman4907

aeroman4907

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,540
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2017
  • Loc: Castle Rock, Colorado

Posted 16 September 2020 - 07:08 AM

Great job and amazing work Tom!

 

I think one of the most interesting parts is you trying to figure out where to set up.  I imagine you poured over Google with Satellite view to try and find a reasonable location to image from that was not trespassing, in the middle of a road, and that you wouldn't likely get shot at 3:30 or 4 a.m. setting up.

 

I guess you would have less people asking you questions at that time in the morning and your trying to explain you were imaging the ISS transiting Mars.  I could hear some of the potential responses you would have to come up with even now:

 

"No, ISIS did not take over the International Space Station."

 

"No, I am not taking pictures of transient people with my telescope."

 

"Never mind, just please don't shoot me!"

 

How did you pick your spot to set up and did you have anyone asking you what you were doing?



#22 Rreedone

Rreedone

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 38
  • Joined: 11 May 2020

Posted 16 September 2020 - 08:41 AM

That is very cool!  If you haven't already, forward it to over to the ISS folks.  I'm sure the astronauts and cosmonauts would love it.



#23 John Boudreau

John Boudreau

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,050
  • Joined: 06 Apr 2008
  • Loc: Boston Area, MA

Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:20 AM

One of the coolest astrophotos I've seen in a long time!

 

Outstanding work and result Tom! waytogo.gif waytogo.gif waytogo.gif



#24 descott12

descott12

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,443
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2018
  • Loc: Charlotte, NC

Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:27 AM

They might as well shut cloudy nights down because nobody will ever beat this shot! Congratulations. This needs to be on the cover of every astro-geek magazine.



#25 descott12

descott12

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,443
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2018
  • Loc: Charlotte, NC

Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:29 AM

Can't stop looking at this. The detail on the ISS is amazing.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics