Chasing the ISS with a Canon SX20IS

The International Space Station passed over my house this evening, about to dock with the STS-133 Discovery space shuttle. Though I wasn’t able to see the shuttle (I understand from tweets that it was very close), the ISS pass was pretty bright and lasted for a good few minutes. Fast moving cloud spoilt the first image where the ISS approached from the SSE. However the following three images I hope you’ll agree aren’t too bad despite the weather doing its best to spoil the view.

ISS Pass 1

Here the ISS (the long line, a 32 second exposure), left hand part of the line is passing over Betelgeuse and Bellatrix in Orion. Aldeberan can be seen up to the right and faintly, the Pleiades can be seen.

ISS Pass 2

In this second inage the ISS has passed Orion (whose distinctive outline can be seen on the right of the image) and is approaching Castor and Pollux in Gemini to the upper left.

ISS Pass 3

This final image shoes the ISS track partially obscured by cloud, just before it disappears from view.

I used my Canon SX20IS mounted on a Jessops photographic tripod, taken at ISO100, using CHDK to set a 32 second exposure, at f7.1. I used a two second delay to allow the camera shake to settle down before the shutter engaged. The images have had a small amount of post-processing applied to brighten the scenes slightly.

UK Star Count 2011

Though this post is aimed at UK visitors, I hope it may be of use to other people from outside the UK highlighting the problem of light pollution.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Campaign for Dark Skies (CfDS) are asking people to join in a ‘Star Count’ to help highlight the problem of light pollution. Light pollution is an ever-growing problem due to inconsiderate use of lighting at night, which takes away the fantastic views of the night sky, not just for astronomers, but for everyone.

The CPRE event, which is taking place this week (31st January to Sunday 6th of February), is a simple survey where people are asked to count the number of stars within a rectangle of Orion’s four main corner stars on a clear night. The less number of stars you can count, the greater the chance that light pollution is the cause.

I’d encourage everyone to take part in this survey, which will also help to find out which parts of the country have the darkest skies.

The event details can be found at:-

Posted by Wordmobi

Website Update

Just a quick update as to what is going on, as there hasn’t been a posting to my blog for a (unbelieveably) couple of months. I’m working on a substantial update to my website which will consist of a number of tutorials, based on what I have learnt in astronomy and astrophotography.

Watch this this space for announcements before the end of the year…!

Posted by Wordmobi