ISS Star Track

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The Space Station has been frequently visible lately but the weather has been sh*tty. This is 4 frames from a “night sky” video on the Nikon P900 so ISO 100, f/2.8, 25 seconds.  It was shot with the lens at the 24mm setting but it’s cropped quite a bit.


Canon T3i First Light

I have a fine old camera now: a Canon T3i DSLR circa 2011. The only lense I have is the 18mm-55mm kit lens(30-80mm equivalent) so nothing like the Nikon’s 2000mm equivalent but the sensor in the canon is 22mm by 14 – sixteen times the surface area of the Nikon’s!  The shots below were taken toward the west with the big dipper high in the sky.  The pale one is 30 seconds at f3.5 ISO 800, the darker one ISO 100. The third shot is the paler one with the contrast boosted.

They’re all out of focus but they show way more stars than my poor old eyes can see so that’s a good start.
Two interesting things I learned doing this:

  • Cranking the focus ring all the way does not focus to infinity. You have to actually focus by eye. This make sense in retrospect because that lens could go on many cameras and the distance from lens to focal plane is going to be a bit different.
  • The contrast algorithms work to increase the pixel rgb values above 128 and reduce those below it. The further they are away from the midpoint the more they move. There’s a good explanation here.

At the same time I noticed the space station going by and grabbed a 10 second exposure of that.  That’s also out of focus but kind of pretty after i messed with the contrast. The bright star is Vega by the way.
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ISS Three-peat

19-04-05 ISS 840Although it was 150km south of me over Kingston Ont the space station was very high in the sky and moving correspondingly fast. I got a couple of quick shots one of which was not awful. This was 1/2000 sec ISO 400 f/6.5 at full zoom(2000mm). I brightened it with the windows photos tool. I don’t know why we only see one set of solar panels but i’m prepared to believe it’s some sort of lighting effect.

More ISS-ing Around

No wolves last night but I caught the ISS twice just after sunset. First near Cassiopeia then near the big dipper. The space station shows up as a streak because these are long exposures. The Cassiopeia one shows more sky colour because it was nearer the setting sun.


19-04-02 dipper pass 2

These are both extracted from timelapse/night-sky videos taken by the camera’s scene mode which means they are 25 second exposures at ISO 100 – I’m guessing f2.8 but not completely sure.

In Which I Dance With Wolves (OK Coyotes

I drove about 10KM east out of Ottawa onto an unlit rural road to try for a shot of the space station against a starscape.  The neatest thing was that I could hear a pack of wolves or coyotes in the distance howling and yipping to keep me company.

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I didn’t have my act together and i just caught a couple of frames using the cameras night sky time-lapse setting which shoots at ISO 100 f8 and turns the images into a short video.  I used PIPP to split out the individual frames then rot’n’stack to combine the brightest pixels.  I used the windows photos app to brighten the whole thing.  The streak at the bottom of the first image is the space station clipping the bottom of Cassiopeia. The one on the left in the second one I’m calling a meteor because hey, who knows, maybe it was a meteor!  I didn’t notice it at the time – only after i lightened the photo considerably.

Below is an isolated Cassiopeia that I shot at ISO 6400 1/2 sec f3.5. The camera does a much better job with the lower ISO longer exposure.19-3-30 casseopeia 751


Imaging the Space Station!

19-3-28 ISS 19Ok it’s not that impressive but this is, i swear to god, the ISS photographed wednesday night from a schoolyard down the street.  It would have been 500 or so km away travelling 28,000 kph.  the shot was taken hand-held at a bit less than full zoom, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, f 6.3. I was following settings taken from this site which has some better samples.  There are a bunch more bright passes over the next couple of weeks so i’ll keep trying.

Tonight there’s a less bright pass so i’m going to try a timelapse movie to get some sort of streak effect. I’m going to go a bit east to the edge of ottawa/cumberland to get out of the worst of the local light pollution.