It was a rare moment when you get a CalSky Calculation that there will be a pass of the ISS across the disk of the sun in your area. This is what I recieved on November 25, 2011 as I opened my e-mail for the day. To my surprise the centerline path (the path in which the ISS would follow) would be within 2 miles of my home the next day! A chance I could not pass up. Here is what CalSky sent.
9h05m29.28s – Crosses the disk of Sun. Separation=0.179° Position Angle=32.0°,
Position angle vertex=60.9°. Transit duration=1.93s
size=109.0m x 73.0m x 27.5m
Satellite at Azimuth=142.7° SE Altitude=
18.4° Distance=989.9 km
In a clock-face concept, the satellite will seem to
move toward 6:58
Longitude= 72°26’54″W Latitude=+41°38’51” (WGS84)
Distance=3.55 km Azimuth= 42.9° NE Path direction=133.0° SE ground
speed=10.408 km/s width=19.3 km max. duration=2.6 s
So, now with all of the info I needed I set forth to find a sighting location within the Centerline that the ISS would follow. Here’s CalSky’s Map of the state.
Here is a closer look on the site I picked out in Colchester, Ct. at a communter parking lot. The Centerline is to the right, my location is marked with an “X”. About 250 feet away from my target line.
I set up my equipment and was ready to go an hour before the transit, hoping to capture it on my Nikon 300s Camera in Hi-def. As luck would have it, a line of high cirrus clouds moved into the area. Even though I could see the sun, it was looking at a “soft focus” image. Never the less, I was set up to go so I gave it a shot.
Within 10 seconds of the predicted time the ISS made it’s pass. I did not see it, but played it back at home with the time encoded on the video.
Result: The RAW video image is not pretty, even though I can clearly see the ISS passing through the disk. I took the best video frame I had, moved into Photoshop, cleaned it up, sharpened it up then got a useable shot. One othe most labor intensive shoots, but all well worth it! Never mind gaining all that experience for the next time.
Enjoy the photo, in my book, it’s one of a kind!
OK, the reveal! CLOSE UP!