Hey, there! Log in / Register

That's no moon! Oh, wait, it is the moon

So why are there TIE fighters flying in front of it? Adam Balsam explains how he captured the International Space Station crossing in front of (or transiting) the moon Saturday night from a parking lot in North Reading.

He took four exposures in about 3/4 of a second, then stitched them together into a single image (the space station is moving at 17,000 miles an hour). See the original, full-size version. He posted an animation of the transit as well (more photos by others).

Copyright Adam Balsam. Posted in the Universal Hub pool.

Free tagging: 



Pretty cool! What focal lens, if I may ask?

Voting closed 7

I only had a 200mm last time I tried that. Had I known another transit was happening I could have tried with the 500mm...


Voting closed 1

Really nice job, must have been very tricky to time properly. I do a bit of astrophotography up in Maine where the skies are nice and dark. How did you know where and when the ISS was going to be in that exact spot and visible in that location? I know there are ISS trackers but curious how you knew how to be there and ready?

Voting closed 2

Yeah, timing was everything. I created a countdown from 6 hours out using https://time.is/ as the source to know when to start the timer. Then I had a friend count-down as the time approached. My camera and SD card can handle about 16 photos over 1.7 seconds (I timed this too). So I aimed to start the burst just before the scheduled transit.

As you can see, I was a little late and missed two possible images, but got the top four.

As far as planning, I used https://transit-finder.com/ and started planning for this one a month out or so. But the ISS does regular boosts to its orbit. So I monitored this site: https://www.heavens-above.com/IssHeight.aspx and recalculated and found a new location each time they boosted the orbit. (We were originally going to be in the Home Goods parking lot, but had to move north to the Lobster Claw after the last boost!)

Voting closed 21

That's great. I have a couple of scopes I use occasionally and I sometimes catch the ISS flying overhead with the help of this website: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/ Very cool pic!

Voting closed 2

Shout-out to the moon!

Voting closed 0