Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The International Space Station, Gemini and Mars Conjuntion


I'v been sucking wind lately with trying to come up with titles, woke up 5:30 am do the post before work, think what will I be talking about, lets see the International Space Station, Gemini, Mars...and they're kinda conjuncting,...done, good enough. The above image was possible due of course to my camera but also a web site called Heavens Above.



You type in your location latitude and longitude, which you can find here and it comes back with flybys of the various satellites that will pass over your location, it gives you the start and end times, the altitude and magnitude, plus a couple maps. The map above was the one I used for the ISS last Saturday. I knew that at 9:23 pm the ISS would rise above the west horizon, it would reach it's max altitude in Gemini around 9:28 pm, and then disappear into the shadow of the Earth shortly after, it also tells you how high it is, the flyby that night was at 372 km.



So of course it's cloudy, even though the weather network says it isn't, I go out to my spot just in case it isn't cloudy out there, or maybe the clouds will fly away by the time I get there. Get to my site look to the sky, and there are clouds. They don't look to be moving out of the way anytime soon. I'm about to go back to the car to leave and I notice the star Sirius trying to burn through the clouds, and think the ISS is much brighter and bigger, it might work.




So after some experimenting with f stops, exposure rates and the ISO levels, I come up with a combo that brings out the stars that are trying to burn through the clouds without over exposing the image, just in time, I notice the ISS rising above the west horizon, take a pic, 15 sec exposure, anything longer would have overexposed the image due to all the clouds



I was able to get 4 pics before the ISS disappeared into the Earth's shadow, the image above. The ISS is looking especially bright these days with all the additions like the Columbus Laboratory giving it more overall surface area for Sunlight reflection. I'll leave you with a video I put together of the images I took of the ISS flyby.


38 comments:

Oswegan said...

How cool is that. It's pretty amazing, the information at our fingertips these days. I wonder how we ever found things out before.

Sherer said...

Question for you my friend. What is your favorite object to photograph (in the sky)? and what is your favorite image you have taken.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Great photos, Bob!!! Thanks for the link. I have to try that out.

Did you hear the news!!! Astronomers discovered 10 planets plus a baby one. SQUEE!!!


Hugs, JJ

Swubird said...

Bob:

You're the man! What stupendously good shots of the stars, and the ISS! Great! Also thanks a bunch for the Heavens Above website. I've never heard of it, but I'll be stopping by there now. All because of you good buddy. In fact, the sites you include on your posts should pay you. You're the best press they're ever going to get.

You are Astroman!!!

Happy star trails.

Bob Johnson said...

One word oswegan, "in the library", well 3 words. \m/

Bob Johnson said...

Good questions sherer, made me think, right now my fav objects to photograph would be globular star clusters, simply because they are my favorite deep sky object to view in the scope, thousand of pin point stars, very mesmerizing, words can't do them justice at all, have to see them in a scope to believe them. My fav image todate is the M13 globular I took last year, link below. Thanks for asking.

http://tech.ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/rascstoon/photos/view/9c0f?b=38&m=f&o=0

priyank said...

You seem to navigate thru sky maps so easily as if they are city maps! This conjunction picture is lovely.

I stepped out of my apartment today at 6:15 am and the moon crescent was shining beautifully on the southern horizon at about 20deg, also the illumination was perfect. If you have a chance tomorrow morning see that, I am anyway going to carry a camera with me all the time :)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks JJ hope you can get some use out of the links. JJ I just found out too about the planets, isn't that cool, and a baby to boot!!

Bob Johnson said...

Hey thanks swubird, hope you can get some good use out of the charts, I think they are very cool use them all the time, thought I would take some images now I have the camera. lol about the ad space I'm giving these sites. \m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks priyank, Moon rises here at 5:20am, and it is supposed to be cloudy,:-( :(, thanks for the heads up though, and way to go keeping your camera with you all the time!! \m/

Ruth said...

Don and I feel cheated if we don't see at least one satellite from the hot tub (which is broken at the moment, bummer). Didn't know this map existed!

Love the pics and I'm impressed with your photog knowledge. Keep feeding us these pics, I'm happy to let you do all the work.

Bob Johnson said...

lol Ruth , the word bummer, haven't used that word for a long time ,glad you like the pics and hope you can supplement ,once the tub is fixed, your hot tubbing with the satellite charts, The ISS is very bright these days. \m/

The Supplicant said...

Hey Bob...boys I ate this one up! Love the interactive info provided. I've bookmarked a few sites and will definitely check them out. It's interesting. For about a year, whenever I drove into work late at night I could see this bright object across the river...and would tell me fiance it was the ISS. Had to be. The thing is so big it had to be real thing. Right? Well, one day I was driving around the area....there was a new subdivision going up and I came across this great big tower that had a light on it. A cell phone tower! Go figure. That was my ISS. Some embarrassing having to suck back wind on that one! Now, if I see something bright in the sky I don't say a word in fear it might incriminate me. Thanks for another great post Bob! Hey, let me see something from you on the MW Society page! Plunge in!
~JD
~JD

Tatiana said...

Another awesome post Bob, and thanks lots for the info...great photos too ;) I kind of hate it while knowing how many satelites are swarming above our heads nowadays and how we are spied all over the place, but there is nothing we can possibly do, is there :rasta: - thank you for sharing the link and wishing you a splendid week my friend ;) Sorry for not commenting inahile but my partner had the pneumonia and I had to try healing him the best I could...
Tatiana

Anna said...

Bob you are so good now capturing sky photos, and being able to locate objects on the sky. I think you know why, but I gave up night sky watch during winter, it was just too cold, lol. Hopefully this summer I will be able to observe the sky more, I think all I need now is a swing and some kind of animal repellant on my backyard, lol. Thanks for sharing, your sky photos are amazing, and you really know your stuff. Anna :)

\m/ :) \m/

Toner said...

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kml said...

Bob - you know right where to look even when there are clouds!

I heard on TV this morning about a man who did free jumping with a parachute from a hot air balloon at 10,000 feet back in 1960.

There were clouds everywhere when he jumped, and when asked if he was nervous about not seeing where he was landing, he just stated that he knew the ground was there. He landed within a 1/4 mile of his landing spot.

Great post!!

Kathy

1st Lady said...

Bob, what a fabulous blog! I could become totally addicted to this site! :-> I'm going to try this out..

Bob Johnson said...

lol JD, I ate crow so much until I got use to reading lots of charts, even still it happens, like my Venus plane thingy.

Oh I will be postingon the MW, it is still a bit intimidating for me, but I usually get over things,lol \m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Tatianna, don't worry about all the satellites, they won't bother you as long as you don't shout obscenities at them during their flyby, if you do, get underground quick, and get a lot of canned food,lol \m/ \m/

Livingsword said...

Hi Bob;

You know Bob your titles are always “sexy” LOL. Try throwing an “unedited” or “uncensored” in front of it and you will increase your traffic!!! LOL (Second thought don’t do that there is no need for us to compete! LOL)

What a wild photo!! Bob is that real? LOL

I love it “Heavens Above”, I have a blogger friend who nickname is Heavenabove!!! You address a person with a name like that very carefully…. :) (She is actually very nice)

Wow what a helpful site!! Very cool, it is interesting seeing it with a white backdrop…

Bob these are interesting photos, you now you could sell igloos to Eskimos…

You would think that after all the work you put into that that those “passengers’ on the space station would have at least waved (Of course Dexter was waving but he doesn’t count because he is always so happy….)

Always nice to enjoy my Bob Break…. Hey do you guys get that radio ad with Bob from Account Temps?

They have this way of saying “Bob” in a very majestic, respectful but celebratory way, whenever Chocolate Girl and I (your adoring fans) are talking about you we say “Bob’ that way…. LOL LOL

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Anna, I'm getting excited about the warmer weather coming, but the camera saved me from the winter this year, even though it was frigging cold, it got me out enjoying the cosmos. I go through tons of repellant in the summer time, have a bottle in the pod just for me, think I see more stars then I should because of it, all the fumes in the little dome, lol, \m/

PS The Lyrid meteor shower April 21-22, your the expert meteor picture taker person,lol. \m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks for dropping by toner. \m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Kathy, It has taken many years of blood sweat and tears for me to be able to do that, actually 10 mins at the web site and anybody could be good to go, just messing with you about the BS&T thing, but and I will say this, I would never feel comfortable jumping out of a hot air ballon especially with clouds,lol \m/

Bob Johnson said...

Wow thanks a lot 1st lady, glad to have you along for the ride. \m/

Bob Johnson said...

lol,lol livingsword, you crack me up to pieces, your right, my titles are sexy, that's why you use the unedited and uncensored words in your titles, come to think of it, I think thats how I found your site,lol.


Too funny about the ISS astronauts and Dextre waving.

Don't get that show, I like the idea of the proper way to say Bob, could show that to some of my staff, as long as you don't call me boob, lol swubird put an extra o in my name on the previous post,lol \m/

shirley said...

Astrology is something that I've been interested in for almost forever, and it took me years before I figured out that a horoscope is really a chart of what the sky looked like at the moment you were born... so, I really love that I can come here and actually see the planetary conjunctionsin the sky.

Roger said...

You did a great job on that Bob! Have a great weekend my friend!!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Shirley, conjunctions are very interesting, and usually have some meaning to them in astrology no matter what is conjuncting.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Roger, have a great weekend too.

Andrew said...

EXCELLENT!!!! :P

Anna said...

Lol Bob, and you told me there was nothing major on the horizon, however, never know may be weather will be good, and secondly if I seat myself well that 'extra single pod' can actually work, lol, if you know what I mean lol. Thanks for the encouragement, lol. Anna :) \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ ...

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Andrew thanks!

Bob Johnson said...

lol Anna, and thanks for using my neat icon guys,lol \m/ \m/ \m/

Julie at Virtual Nexus said...

Wow, nice one...

Thanks for your comments on mine!

Main blog moving to v nexus (history tours on vv)

On the photo issue...
digital compacts are too easy. I took a few shots yesterday at Hever Castle...around 270; good job memory is cheap....!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks julie, I hear ya, to easy to take pics, got over 3,ooo in a few months, like you said memory is cheap so why not,lol \m/

AngelBaby said...

Bob,

Your site is awesome. Amazing information everytime I stop by. Wow! I love this site.

I have something for you at my site.

Love and Blessings,
AngelBaby

Bob Johnson said...

Wow, thanks again AngelBaby!