Tag Archives: sunspot

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's the International Space Station?

There are times when astronomy amateurs stumble into the photo of a lifetime. For Pixeltop forum member labsmansid, that moment happened yesterday. He worried all morning that he may not even get the opportunity due to the massive cloud cover in his area. Luck was with him, though, when the skies cleared up less than a half hour prior to the time that the International Space Station was scheduled to pass between his location and the Sun.

Some people are comparing this photo to one found on the Bad Astronomy blog. labsmansid takes that as a compliment, and states that photos like this are what got him interested in this hobby of his to begin with.

According to the photographer, the entire event lasted less than a second. To capture this breathtaking moment, he “was using a long telephoto lens with a 2X teleconvertor attached to my Canon 40D camera. The lens front was covered with a special solar filter designed for photographic, rather than visual, use. It lets more light through for higher shutter speeds. In this case, I shot at 1/8000th shutter speed and f/11 at 200ISO.”

A few skeptics are trying to claim that it is all a hoax. If that is true, then you have to give him credit for his ingenuity and creativity. I highly doubt this photo is the result of a “spot on the lens” as one person said. What are the odds that a smudge would look exactly the same as the ISS?

Astronomy for Amateurs


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During our open mic session at the last Gnomedex, my good friend Derek Miller came up on stage to show off some backyard Astronomy that his Dad has done. Derek reminds us all that you don’t have to work at NASA to get amazing photographs of things found in our solar system. All you need is passion for what you’re looking at, and a telescope!

Derek was inspired to show off his Dad’s work after seeing the Bad Astronomer himself, Phil Plait, on stage during the conference.

You can find the amazing picture Derek’s Dad took on his blog. There’s a very cool picture, as well, on Phil Plait’s blog.

Are you a backyard Astronomer? If you have gotten cool pictures like these, leave us a link in the comments section so we can all enjoy them!

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