Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Amazing Picture of the ISS

Thanks to The Bad Astronomer for posting some amazing pictures of the International Space Station taken by Ralf Vandebergh (from the ground using just a 10 inch telescope, and manual tracking). I just had to share. Mr. Vandenbergh must have an amazingly steady hand, and huge reserved of patience! The one I reproduce above also shows as an inset the Space Shuttle approaching the ISS.

When I was hosting star gazing parties fairly often (as a graduate student) I would enjoy nights when the ISS was going to be visibly passing overhead. (You can find such information for any given location on Heaven's Above). I was always amused to see the many skeptics, some of whom clearly had trouble believing I could know such a thing. We would go out onto the deck just a few minutes before the scheduled pass - usually after much persuading on my part. Then came the waiting, and the doubting (on their part, not mine). Finally the ISS would appear lit up by the Sun as a moving bring spot, arc over the sky and disappear (when it passed into the Earth's shadow). After that I always got a lot more respect.

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