Welcome to my Astrophotography Blog!

This is a journal of my adventures in astrophotography -- taking images of distant celestial objects. Please look around and feel free to add your comments, questions, and critique to any of the entries by clicking the "comments" button on the bottom of each entry -- or just say "howdy!

And don't forget to click on the images for a larger view!

So choose either the Red pill or the Blue pill and follow me down the wormhole....


Comanche Springs Star Party

Comanche Springs Star Party
Doin' my thang at the Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (where I often become a "red ghost")

Dallas Sky

Rancho Venado Sky

Atoka Sky

Camanche Springs Sky

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Man in Space!

Wow, this was a LOT of fun to shoot! This is the International Space Station (ISS) with the Shuttle docked on top. It came zipping overhead here in Dallas last night around 9:15 at 80 degrees above North.

This sucker moves quick! It was a really bright Mag -2 and looked like a super bright plane. It was only visible from my atrium for a little over a minute.

I shot this with a simple ToUcam webcam attached to my CPC 800 telescope. As soon as it started overhead, I manually chased it around the sky and recorded an 800 frame AVI of it zipping in and out (mostly out) of my field of view. But I managed to catch about 20 images of the ISS. This is the best one.

This is the first time I've attempted this and didn't know what to expect, so I am very happy with the results. It is SO COOL what goes on just right above our heads. It amazes me that you can simply look up and see space stations flying overhead and actually take pictures of them!

I'm going to have to try this again : )


Bob Eggleton (Zillabob) said...

WOW! Man, you can see it perfectly! ANd in that split second...

I am JOhn said...

Isn't that cool? I had no idea you could see it so clearly until I saw some images others have taken, so I thought "what the hell?"

I was really blown away when I saw the results -- you can sit in your backyard and take pictures of space ships flying around in space!

Monkeyman said...

I remember when we went up on the roof at Irving to see it flash overhead (I think that was what you was pointing out that evening...) I had no idea that it could be imaged so clearly, esp. inside of city limits.

I am JOhn said...

Yeah, I remember that night. I believe I thought it was going to be a night landing of the Shuttle (which can be pretty spectacular), but it was just an orbital pass -- nothing that visual.

But the ISS is pretty big and has big-ass solar reflectors that can bounce a lot of light -- you can really see it coming. IN fact, I saw it again tonight, but was very low in the sky this time and not nearly as close and bright.

By the way.. who is that "Monkeyman"? The art looks like Mister Paul Allen!

Monkeyman said...

That's right, I knew it was something along those lines. Yeah, you guessed correctly! Someone told me you had a blog running, so I followed the link off of Sarah's page. How's things been, you doing any live action projects now?

I am JOhn said...

Howdy Paul!

Man, I've been mostly playin'... Yahoo!

The WGA strike (and imposing SAG strke) really slowed things down. But I've been writing a bunch and working on a graphic novel with Zillabob.

By the way, I'm sure you have heard that Planet Sheen finally got picked-up by Nick -- cool.

Marianne said...

Damn, you do good work, John-san! It looks really brilliant! So you're probably all tuckered out from flapping around the place, chasing after the gol-darn thing...

"you can sit in your backyard and take pictures of space ships flying around in space!"

You space cadet, you! :-D And yeah, ain't it cool? Good on ya.


I am JOhn said...

Howdy Marianne,

Yes, I'm a self-confessed space cadet from way back. You know, child of the sixties and all that : )

I used watch all the moonshots at school in the lunchroom. My elementary school would put these huge B&W televisions all over the place. I'd eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches and watch guys walk on the moon -- that STILL sounds good!

Marianne said...

Not a PBJ sandwich kind of guy huh? I actually like PB and Honey, too. :-D

Oh, yeah. I was about 5 years old - just - when the moonshot happened. Sat on my own on the floor of our loungeroom back home in Austalia and watched it in black and white on a spindly legged old TV. Damn, those were the times! The movies, The Dish and Apollo 13, make me wistful for those times. The Dish just makes me homesick, period.

Hmmm. Think I should go paint another fantasy pointy rocket ship...


I am JOhn said...

Yes! More pointy rocket paintings!

Monkeyman said...

That's great about Sheen's Planet, parents and kids still love Jimmy and the gang.

Ken Mitchroney said...

Nice catch John.

Monkeyman said...

Here's a link I saw on a google news widget this morning, about a guy who photographs secret satellites: http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/316670785/secret_satellites

Jim Belfiore said...

Mind if I forward this to the chief engineer of the ISS? I've been working with him over the past few months on the pesky SARJ (Solar Alpha Rotary Joint) fragmentation and he'd probably get a kick out of it.

Awesome photo, BTW.

Jim Belfiore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Belfiore said...

Speaking of cool telescopes, the Mars Observer has a really cool set of lenses when it comes to looking back at Earth.

I am JOhn said...

Howdy Jim,

Sure! Feel free to forward the photo to whomever you wish.

By the way, I made a mosaic of several images in sequence from that same pass. It is in the slide show at the bottom of this page : )