International Space Station Solar Transit

iansmith

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I'm quite a happy camper today! This was my first attempt at this, and I think it came out about as good as one could expect given my equipment and location. The 75-300 is a nice lens but a telescope it is not!

This is the ISS captured as is passed in front of the sun. I took MJPEG video of the event and then combined all the frames.

This was NOT easy. This sort of transit only happens about once every one or two weeks within a 100 mile radius of any given location, and usually it happens with the sun too low, or with bad weather. In this shot the ISS was 300 miles away and moving at 17,000 miles an hour. It took half a second to cross the sun, giving me 16 frames to work with.

I used ISS Transit Prediction for Android to find out where and when I needed to be ahead of time.

Anyway, here it is. Sunspots too which was a bonus.

Captured with the Olympus 75-300 on an E-P5.

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OzRay

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It's a great shot, but I really think it would look better with just one image of the ISS against the sun. Right now it looks kind of like a zipper across the sun.
 

iansmith

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What did you use to filter out the sunlight, welders glass?
I used something called Baader Solar Film, it's designed to filter out the sun to levels the human eye or a camera can safely view. Doesn't distort or heavily color the sun like ND filters of welders glass.
 

iansmith

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It's a great shot, but I really think it would look better with just one image of the ISS against the sun. Right now it looks kind of like a zipper across the sun.
Hows this? :)

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OzRay

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I think that makes the shot much more dramatic and in a sense 'scientific', the sunspots really add to the effect as well. It's actually a better shot than what I remember seeing posted in some tech article a little while ago, where the authors were all agog.
 

iansmith

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I think that makes the shot much more dramatic and in a sense 'scientific', the sunspots really add to the effect as well. It's actually a better shot than what I remember seeing posted in some tech article a little while ago, where the authors were all agog.
Awesome, thanks. Crazy what can be done with a digital camera and a zoom lens! Even if it is an amazing one. :)
 

OzRay

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Just as an aside, is there a colour version of this? Just curious to see how it would compare if the sun were yellow(ish).
 

iansmith

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Just as an aside, is there a colour version of this? Just curious to see how it would compare if the sun were yellow(ish).
There isn't. I took the video in monochrome mode for maximum detail. The sun is naturally white so it would not show up as yellow even in color, but could be easily tinted.
 

OzRay

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You can get colour depending on the type of filter used and it comes out a variation of something like this (this was with pretty much an ND solar filter):

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aloysius

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The single-frame and zipper shots are just plain different, and each stands on its own. Very impressive! I look at the amazing detail of the ISS, showing individual sections of the solar panels, and think I'm also looking up at 6 human beings of the current crew.
 

OzRay

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I was thinking that the first shot would look pretty good as an animated GIF. That would really put things into context.
 

iansmith

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I was thinking that the first shot would look pretty good as an animated GIF. That would really put things into context.
Was already working on it. :) This is real time, wasn't sure if I should slow it down to show just how fast that thing zips across. Blink and you miss it.

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