2014 08 24 – ISS

It’s always a treat to follow the International Space Station (ISS) through an eyepiece. During a recent outreach event, I even had a line of visitors taking quick turns at the eyepiece while I tracked the pass for the them using the Dob with a Telrad.

During the past few days, my husband and I made a joint efforts to image the International Space station, his by webcam using the 10-inch LX200 with manual tracking and mine through sketches using the 16-inch Dobsonian and a 13mm Ethos. This telescope/eyepiece combination makes it fairly easy to track the ISS while providing a bit of umph for details.

There were two ISS passes on the night of August 23. I used the first one for practice and, from that, determined that a voice recorder was definitely needed for the 2nd run at 21:43-21:46 local time (Aug 24th 02:43-02:46 UT). Directly after the observation, I made a rough field sketch and jotted down notes. A more-detailed, color sketch was completed inside using my notes, voice recording and the field sketch for reference. When the sketch was complete, it was scanned and processed in Photoshop CS6 to better represent the luminosity of the view.


Original sketch from voice recorder and notes

Original sketch from voice recorder and notes

The solar arrays were outlined in bright burnt yellow with deeper burnt orange running through the center of them lengthwise. The module was bright and long on the following end. More details were visible during moments of clarity with smooth tracking, but I failed to describe the view with enough depth to transpose them onto paper. I was able to add what appeared to be the thermal control radiators near the truss on either side of the module as well as a section of the module that runs parallel to the truss on the leading edge.

Equipment: 16-inch f/4.5 reflector on a non-tracking Dobsonian mount, Telrad, 13mm Ethos

Application for passes: GoSatWatch – Satellite Tracking for iPhone

Sketch media: black Strathmore Artagain paper, color pencils, white gel pen, color Conte’ pastels, blending stump and then processed digitally in Photoshop CS6

Related Links

Alan Strauss features a sketch of the ISS transiting the Sun. He explains the technique he used and how he planned for it on his webpage Lost Pleiad Observatory.

Jeremy Perez masterfully captured a series of sketches from a August 2012 ISS pass and another from an October 2012 pass that can be viewed from his Belt of Venus website. Make sure to read his tips on how to try this yourself!

ISS and Shuttle Endeavour in 2008 by Aleksander Cieśla
ISS and Progress M-02M in 2009 by Janusz Krysiak
Plus a few more ISS sketches from ASOD contributors.

Click here for the latest ISS news from NASA.


~ by Erika Rix on August 26, 2014.

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