This guy must have a good camera ;)

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CalliArcale

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7330925.stmSorry its a few weeks old but only just found it. What a great pic, would love to have something so powerful i could get a pic of the ISS like that <br /> Posted by bobble_bob</DIV></p><p>Actually, there are backyard astronomers who take pictures of orbiting spacecraft on a regular basis.&nbsp; It's unbelievably cool.&nbsp; The article doesn't talk about how pictures like this are taken, but it's really really cool.&nbsp; ;-)&nbsp; Basically, you need a decent sized backyard telescope (not necessarily huge), a CCD imager capable of taking lots of frames (a digital video camera, essentially), software for "stacking" images, an accurate clock, and a steady hand.</p><p>Stacking images is where you take a whole bunch of shots of the same thing and then use stacking software to add them all up.&nbsp; It has the same effect as a long exposure, and in fact, digital astrophotographers often use image stacking instead of long exposures, even of things like Jupiter which cooperate by not moving through the sky so quickly. </p><p>So you get your telescope set up, aim it where the spacecraft will be, and wait with one hand on the button to start capturing frames from your CCD camera.&nbsp; Then you have to track the spacecraft to keep it as centered as possible throughout the pass.&nbsp; That's the hard part, I understand, and it takes a lot of practice.&nbsp; Then you use your stacking software and probably also some digital image manipulation software to get the best result out of all of the images.&nbsp; And voila!&nbsp; You have a picture like this.&nbsp; It takes a lot of planning, and some work afterwards post-processing the images so they look nice.</p><p>I've seen many pictures of the ISS that people have taken, as well as shots of the Space Shuttle (with and without ISS), one of the Shuttle during the radar mission (SRTM) with the long boom visible, the ATV before it docked, Soyuz and Progress, and I seem to even recall seeing a Shenzhou picture.&nbsp; Obviously, the bigger the target, the better the picture will be, and the ISS is perfect for that.</p><p>I've also seen cool silhouette pictures.&nbsp; These don't require quite as steady a hand, but they do require a good watch and careful planning -- and if it's a daytime picture, a solar filter.&nbsp; These are pictures of a spacecraft transiting the face of a celestial body, often the Sun or Moon.&nbsp; One really memorable one that I've seen was the ISS taken during the Mercury transit.&nbsp; I'll see if I can find some of those pics. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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CalliArcale

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<p>Okay, here's the ISS and Venus transiting the Sun.&nbsp; This is a way cool pic (click to view full), and probably unique:</p><p><br /> <img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/4/2/d49f407f-6f9a-40cc-823a-b08dc461cf48.Medium.jpg" alt="" /><br />&nbsp;</p><p>But go to this page to see some breathtakingly beautiful pictures of the ISS transiting the Moon: <u><font color="#0000ff">Ed's ISS Transit Page</font></u></p><p>And then go to this NASA page with images from the last Mercury transit.&nbsp; Scroll down to the "Space Station Movie" section to get to links to a cool video of the ISS and Mercury transiting the Sun: <u><font color="#0000ff">May 7, 2003 Solar Transit of Mercury Gallery</font></u> </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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JimL

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Basically, you need a decent sized backyard telescope (not necessarily huge), a CCD imager capable of taking lots of frames (a digital video camera, essentially), software for "stacking" images, an accurate clock, and a steady hand.Posted by CalliArcale</DIV></p><p>There is a sizeable number of amateur astronomers who have motorized tracking scopes.&nbsp; And there is a fair percentage of them (both scope and tracking drive) actually made by the owners. </p>
 
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CalliArcale

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>There is a sizeable number of amateur astronomers who have motorized tracking scopes.&nbsp; And there is a fair percentage of them (both scope and tracking drive) actually made by the owners. <br /> Posted by JimL</DIV></p><p>Cool!&nbsp; I'm not surprised to hear that many of them build their own tracking systems.&nbsp; All the technology is there; it just takes a determined hobbyist with the right know-how.&nbsp; ;-)</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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