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ISS with 8" Telescope

Posted: 6 February 2015

During the day on Thursday I cleaned the keypad of my Wireless AutoStar II handcontroller. Since getting it in October 2010 it has worked well but recently the keys had begun to stick when pressed. Thinking that maybe it was just due to dirt/dust on the keys I used a can of compressed air to clean around the buttons. The handset worked well this night.

Open: Thursday, 5 February 2015, 1800 MST
Temperature: 76°F
Session: 776
Conditions: Clear

After opening the observatory I immediately began setting up for imaging the International Space Station (ISS). I updated the TLE using the AutoStar. At 1810 MST I took a quick look at Venus, 83X. I then mounted the D7000 DSLR at prime focus of the 8" telescope with a 2X PowerMate. 1826 MST: did a focus test on the star Rigel using a Bahtinov Mask. I was now ready for the ISS pass to begin at 1840 MST. Although the pass would start behind a tree with the ISS still in a brightly lit twilight sky, it would climb to near the zenith, resulting in a very close line-of-sight distance.

Unlike what happened during the previous night's ISS pass when I forgot to start the HD video recording, this night I made certain I would start recording. Unfortunately, just prior to the start of the pass I accidently bumped the camera. I worried that I had changed the focus, and as I discovered during post-processing, I did knock the camera slightly out-of-focus. There was not enough time available prior to the pass start to refocus so I took a chance and did the video recording. I was able to retrieve three frames with images of the space station that were not horrible. The exposure for the HD video recording was 1/1250sec at ISO 4000.


The next good ISS pass, but not as good as this night was, will be Saturday, 7 February. Will try again. I have past better ISS images on the Satellite Photos Album page.

1858 MST: using 83X, viewed Venus, Mars, Uranus, and Jupiter. Jupiter was too low in the eastern sky for good viewing but 3 moons were visible.

Due to an early morning speaking commitment on Friday, I closed up early this night. You can see my short report on my talk on the Oracle Dark Skies Committee web site.

Close: Thursday, 5 February 2015, 1931 MST
Temperature: 65°F

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