Saturday, March 29, 2008

International Space Station Passes Overhead

Last evening (Friday, March 28) I noticed that a pass of the International Space Station (ISS) would be exceptionally bright here (magnitude -0.7) and the orbit would take it just to our north. I took my camera and headed out into the backyard on the cold evening (mid-30's) and set up my tripod. Here's a 15-second trace of the ISS passing about 211 miles overhead.

For those interested, I shot this at fairly low resolution (just one megapixel) and used f/2.7 (ISO 100) for the 15 seconds I had the shutter open. I'm using a Canon PowerShot S2 IS. Reducing the image to post here, I brightened it up about 50% since the trace disappeared into the darkness otherwise. In the full resolution shot, the Pleiades star cluster is clearly visible as is a neat red star closer to the horizon. This was shot facing NNW. I tried to keep some trees in the shot for size reference.

The next morning (Sat. March 29) we had quite a layer of frost on the barn and house roof, both standing seam metal. The shot above is of the moon (last quarter) hovering above the trees to the south. The top of the barn roof frames much of the bottom of this picture. I though the jet contrails, the few whispy clouds and the sun just beginning to highlight the maple, made this shot interesting.

Looking south towards the house, you can better see the frost in this picture. With the sun shining from the left, the standing seams of the metal roof come alive in high relief. It was only in the upper 20's just before 8 a.m. when this picture was taken.

The grass is just beginning to green for another mowing season. The fuel oil tank in this picture is no longer used (thank goodness!) and if you scan back a few pages you'll see why.

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