Image Credit & Copyright: Me.
Here’s another one that I captured, this time on June 9, 2015 and it’s of the International Space Station (ISS) rising off of the north-northwest (NNW) horizon and instead of making a full flyover, it seems to disappear mid-flight…..What’s up with that?!
The reason is actually pretty simple but it’s a reason you don’t often consider when you see it happen for whatever reason. Remember that Station is illuminated not by its own lights but instead by sunlight reflecting off of it just like the Moon and planets. So what happens is, Station just travels right along into Earth’s shadow and just like that, its light fades out and it seems to disappear right in front of you…..or, above you.
The image itself is pretty simple after I grab my ISS flyover times from any number of resources (See link below). I shot six-twenty second exposures then I stacked them in a startrails program called “Startrails.” I then went to Photoshop and cleaned the image up a little bit and highlighted the Big Dipper stars with StarSpikesPro 3 which is a Photoshop plug in to make the image, at least in my opinion, a little more appealing. So why 20 second images and not just a single two minute long exposure? Where I live the night sky is very bright (7 or 8 on the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale) so even with my ISO dragged down to 320 and the aperture knocked down to f4, a two minute exposure would render a bright white frame.
That’s about it, I hope you enjoy this image and I’ll try to post some more on occasion of my trials and tribulations of a red sky astronomer.
Track the Space Station (ISS): https://danspace77.com/iss-tracking/