Photographing The Stars 1

StarsLast night I went out on to the Denbigh Moors in an attempt to get away from the light pollution and have a try at some Astrophotography. I know the area a little, as it’s where I played a little when I had a 4×4 car, and the place I always head for if I’m able where there’s a meteor shower. There is a little light pollution, but it’s the best area locally to me.

As I was setting up, I noticed almost directly overhead a very bright object moving at quite a rapid pace across the sky. Without doubt the ISS (I’d known from an earlier post on Twitter by @virtualastro that the ISS would be visible from the UK) and when I recognised it I simply stopped dead, tracing its movement right down to the point where it fell in to shadow.

I posted the fact that I had seen the ISS on Twitter, and one of my friends asked how to tell the difference between an ISS pass and, for example, a meteor or an Iridium flare. I couldn’t quite get it all in to 140 characters on Twitter, hence this blog post.

  • A meteor usually moves very quickly across the sky, and is normally visible for only a few seconds.
  • The ISS is bright. There will be brighter stars in the sky, but not many.
  • The ISS travels the sky at a what I’d describe as a purposeful but measured speed. A typical pass would be in the 3-4 minute range.
  • An Iridium flare typically lasts only a few seconds, and more often than not looks like a flashing object.

Of course if you really want to make sure you see the ISS, use a website like Heavens Above and make sure you’re out and have your eyes adjusted to the dark before the pass time.

One comment on “Photographing The Stars

  1. Reply nuttynat Feb 21, 2013 10:07 am

    Nice stars !

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