SCT Meade 12" + DMK21
1/1600s gain 650 lum128, manual tracking

20081002 18:50->18:51 UT

Observation of the ISS over France, Mag -2.3 . Tel : Meade SC 12" @ FD=10 Cam : Defiltered Canon Digital Reble 300D
Param : 1/2000s, 800 ISO, RAW. Focus : manual with LX200 motor on Jupiter satellites . I took the pictures while I was manually guiding the scope and looking in the finderscope.


20071218 16-27 UT
Lx200 8" at 2800mm, manual guiding with ETX 90 in //, Canon 10D extender 1.4

Go to astromovies page for Divx...

ISS transits the Moon

On Thursday , December 20, 2001 in the evening

Contrary to meteorological forcasts and except for some insignificant clouds in the afternoon, the sky is perfectly clear for this original and rather rare event on a rather thin Moon crescent !

As soon as I am back home, I get ready with fever ( I know myself, I often panic in these precisely timed short events !)

According to Heavens.com's site, as seen from my home, the ISS should pass at about 30 ' below the Moon at 18. 30 UT. Thanks to Philippe Jacquot's mail on Meteoros@yahoogroupes.fr about the work of Bruno Tilgner of the list Alphonse, I had a detailed list of transits. One of them was situated a few arc min south from my home and at the same longitude. Knowing how much Murphy loves me (without any reciprocity, BTW !) I verify the functioning of my Vesta pro on my portable PC and I cleaned the disk for more than reasonable (2.5Go) free space Everything looks well ! I take also my digital camera Casio QV2800UX, without forgetting the remote controler, new batteries and tripod. I load in my car the PC, my orange C8 and its mount, two reducers with Danny's special hypershort adapter, Vesta Pro, a 12V 100AH car battery fully charged, an inverter 12-> 220V...

Before leaving to the precise rendez-vous, in order not to put all my eggs in the same basket, I set up my 8mm Samsung video camcorder on another equatorial mount in the garden, AD motor on and pointed to the Moon, and adjust the zoom to keep a fields of 1° below the disk. The camescope is used without tape and is connected to a standard VHS video recorder, a TV set serving as monitor. The XDR function (extended dynamic arranges) allows in these conditions to see the earthshine. I focus using Mars, ideally placed just above. The video recorder is started ! I ask my son Réouven to do an important mission : to verify at about 18. 25UT that the Moon, which moves gradually leftwards on the screen (and so I placed it a little  towards the right-hand side of the screen), is still  correctly placed. I turn off the display of the clock to avoid the ISS being eventually hidden !

Yuh ! Thought of averything ! Murphy will not have an easy job ...

GPS switched on, I leave, on a road without car traffic... 30 minutes left (only!). After two three stops to verify the indications of the GPS, I arrive in south Limours ( 91 ) - less than 10Km from my home - at the perfect latitude. To the left a dark street with a wide pavement, to the right a huge field, obscure and frozzen. I check the GPS : latitude OK, longitude a few minutes further East than chekpoint, but really that is not important as the ISS arrives from the West, in an almost horizontal trajectory !

My car parked, 14 minutes were left before the passage. Should be Ok ! I align quickly the mount on Polaris (very sufficient as the total recording time will be very short), I aim the C8 at the Moon, install the reducers, the Vesta Pro, starty the PC and ... Nothing on the screen after the camera initialization. Irritating, no? I switch off then on again the PC. This time everything works well ! In an instant I lock on the Moon's terminator ... Oh ! I have not a large part of it with my configuration. In the "panic" I had done some confusion : the Moon in its entirety with two reducers and Vesta pro, that is with the Perl Halley 70 / 400mm and not the C8 and its focal length of 2m ! Finally I have just the time to center on Theophilus, close enough to the middle of the terminator.

Naturally, I had taken advantage of the booting time of the PC, to set up the Casio QV2800UX on its tripod, parameter the exposure 1/3s, plug the remote controler, chosen the fast JPG mode ...

I AM READY... I glance on the sky, the ISS arrives quickly (at Mg 1.7) ! A mouse click and the avi recording is started. The terminator is slightly to much on the right of the screen but I hold on myself touching AD not to find me (certainly) with a black screen!

Everything is fine, the calculated trajectory seems perfect, the ISS runs towards the lunar crescent, that is going to be the big scoop!!!

But then, Murphy who was just behing me strikes  a big blow !

No! The scope does not fall on the grass, the PC does not hang, I do not scramble my feet in cables... But I am there, remote controler in hand, feeling quite stupid !

I let you try to guess how Murphy, once again, won this battle ! What happened ?

(Answer here in a few days days...)

Naturally it is disappointed that I returned home half an hour later !

My son had followed my instructions but had not seen well the event ... It was so fast !

As I had not thought to tell him to move a little the camcorder just before the transit or shout at the time of the passage, the examination of the tape in live speed was rather painful and monotonous ...

Finally at the end of one hour of TV screen fixation, I jump out of my socks : a white point appears on the right and transit the Moon ! Incredible, the ISS "should" have passed below ! I call Réouven and we look at the tape again and again to see if the ISS crosses the earthshine ... no,yes, no, YES! But really not much !

Then with some fever, I start video digitalisation then detailled Snappy captures. you can see the result on the posters below, finished at about 2am local !

Poster realised after digitalization of the VHS tape
(analogic SAMSUNG camcorder used as camera only ; XDR mode)
with StudioTV USB (limited to 320*240)

Poster realised after digitalization of the VHS tape
(analogic SAMSUNG camcorder used as camera only ; XDR mode) with Snappy
cropped from 640*480 images

The event's movie !

Texts & images Copyright S. Weiller, 1999, 2007