Skip to comments.Amateur photo of Space Station passing through Pleiades star cluster as meteor shoots across
Posted on 03/05/2010 9:33:47 AM PST by ETL
WHAT ARE THE ODDS? Last night in Minburn, Iowa, photographer, Tom Bailey pointed his camera at the Pleiades and opened the shutter. Within 30 seconds, a spaceship bisected the star cluster followed shortly thereafter by a disintegrating clump of comet dust. Unlikely? Here's the photo:
Photo details: Nikon D5000, Nikon 135mm lens, f2.0, 30s
The image was part accident, part design. "I positioned myself at a location where the International Space Station would pass directly in front of the Pleiades," says Bailey. "Right on schedule, I spotted it creeping up over the trees and making a beeline for the cluster. Just as it passed, an unexpected meteor streaked across the field of view. Wow!"
Wow, indeed. Seek out your own crossings using the Simple Satellite Tracker. And don't forget, there's an app for that, too.
BTW: you can also find out if the International Space Station will be observable from your location (looks like a bright white 'star' moving slowly across the sky) by going to Heavens-Above.com:
(look for "ISS")
However, you will need to first input your general location. There are several fairly easy ways of doing it. See the options at the website. I advise that you register (free) and save your location info for when you want to check again at a later date.
Note: the white ISS trail that you see in this photo is due to the camera settings (shutter speed). i.e. the ISS moves across the sky at the apparent rate of a high-flying airplane. It does ZIP through the sky like a meteor, although it is traveling at about 5 miles per second (18,000 miles per hour) at its approximate 240 mile altitude.
RE: “It does ZIP through the sky like a meteor”
Make that DOESN’T.
Awesome shot, well done.
Pleiades is my favorite.
Here’s a great website for amateur astrophotos:
(be sure to click ENLARGE where available, and explore ALL the different categories from the column on the left)
>Pleiades is my favorite.
Here’s a large high-resolution image of the Pleiades from Wiki:
What is really strange is how many supposedly random stars fall in gently curved string-of-pearls patterns.
God is great
Click on J-Track 3D for tracking over 900 satellites.
Stars within clusters aren't randomly dispersed. They share a common origin and so remain at least somewhat gravitationally bound to each other. The Pleiades is an "open" star cluster. In OSCs, the stars are more loosely bound and slowly drifting away from each other, whereas in "globular" clusters, the stars are much more tightly packed.
Thanks. Usually stuff like this from NASA is unnecessarily complex and confusing, at least for regular folks. They have way too many things jammed onto their pages and the structure is terrible. I very rarely rely on their websites for anything. But then, I find this to be the case for most government websites.
I’ll second the recommendation for Heavens-Above. After entering your coordinates you can bring up a whole range of satellite viewing opportunities. My favorite are the so-called Iridium Flares. If you haven’t seen one, they are really something. Because the “beam” from them is so narrow, a couple of tips are in order if you want to maximize your Iridium Flare viewing success: First, you need to know exactly where you are. One of the best ways to do this is with Google Earth - zoom in on your location and record the coordinates. On Google Earth, move your cursor to the spot you want and the coordinates are displayed at the bottom. If the coordinates are displayed in Degrees/Minutes/Seconds, open the Tools>Options tab and select Degrees, decimal minutes. These are the values you enter into Heavens-Above. Second, you need to know the exact time (flares only last a few seconds). Lastly, you need to be able to estimate azimuth and angle above the horizon. Heavens-Above will estimate magnitude, so bear in mind that the lower the number, the brighter the event; some are very bright; in the -5 or less range they are dazzling. Sorry if I went on and on, but these flares are very cool and the first one you see will shock you.
Got it ;)
Well, the ultimate origin of everything in the universe may be something close to ‘magic’.
That’s just my standard reply when somebody describes something clearly beyond my capabilities.
I think I got it from Homer Simpson.
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