April 14, 2012

Three Russians, Two Americans, and a Dutch Guy

Last night at about 42 minutes after 9 o'clock I was trying to decide whether to go to bed and to sleep or whether to go out and take a look at Saturn and take some photos. I checked Heavens Above, and low and behold there was an epic and awesome ISS pass coming up shortly. Very shortly. It was due to start at 48 minutes after 9 and reach its peak at 51 minutes after, then disappear within another minute or two.

I grabbed camera, tripod and telescope and rushed out to the car. I drove the couple of kilometers to the top of Mt Tolmie, screeched to a halt and jumped out, camera and tripod in hand. I was right on time at 48 minutes after, but I still had to set up my tripod, and then find the space station and set up a shot. I had looked at where  it was going to be the highest in the sky, but I had forgotten to see where it would first appear.

I finally spotted it as it passed through the highest point. It was incredibly bright. It was almost as bright as it ever gets in fact. It was much brighter than Venus is these days. I managed to get this photo of it as it headed down towards the horizon. It is the very bright one in the middle.

This is not the most brilliant photo I have ever taken, but I really like it. On reason is because in that little bright streak there are 6 people. They go all the way around the earth every hour and a half. It is such an incredible achievement that this football field sized, million pound space station is floating around us with people in it.

Another reason I like this photo is the unexpected presence of two other satellites gracing it with their light. One is easy to see. It passes from right to left above the ISS. The other is much more difficult to see, and I only noticed it when I was looking at the photo afterwards, but there is another one passing through at a similar angle to the right of the ISS down closer to the trees. If you draw a line from where the ISS crosses behind the trees to the uppermost little fluff of tree on the right hand side that is where you will find it.

So here is to the astronauts and cosmonauts and all the thousands of engineers behind them who make human space flight possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment