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fatboy1271

ISS Through a Telescope?

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NASA has a Spot the Station email alert service. I know that the ISS is traveling extremely fast; however, is it possible to see it through the telescope if you know where it is supposed to be?

fat

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Yes, it is possible to spot the ISS with a telescope.  However...

You will need a motorized drive and a computer with special software.

There is software out there that is free that can enable one to view and photograph the ISS.

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I have spotted it with 200p by putting the scope in front of its direction. Only get a tiny glimpse cos of the speed but you can make out the H shape.

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Definitely do able. I have tracked it in my 4" apo on a manual alt az mount. It appears slower when it is low down so is easier to pick up. If you choose a widefield ep with just enough power it is possible to track it whilst seeing surprising detail.

Stu

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Yep certainly doable. I have tracked it in the manual dob many times. Check when it is due,  when visible line your scope up with it's trajectory,and get your scope in front of it with a wide'ish ep. It takes a bit of practice, but is worth it. No idea how hard it is on a manual  EQ mount.

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I saw Mark Thompson do it one night. Was a long, bright pass and we all stood there gawping when half way through the pass he suddenly sprung into action, grabbed someone's 8" dob, found and tracked it. Awesome! :grin:

AndyG

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I have followed it with my 130PDS on the AZ4 mount.  Not easy but I managed to keep it in view for about half of its pass.

One of these nights I will have to try it with the camera attached, following it with the Rigel finder.  I know the chances are that most exposures would miss, but it only needs one good one.

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I tracked it manually in my 130p with a medium power eyepiece in (it was a surprise target of opportunity for me!), so about 1 degree FoV. I did what Alan suggested - picked a point ahead of it, and picked it up on the way past.

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Yep certainly doable. I have tracked it in the manual dob many times. Check when it is due, when visible line your scope up with it's trajectory,and get your scope in front of it with a wide'ish ep. It takes a bit of practice, but is worth it. No idea how hard it is on a manual EQ mount.

Same here. Was surprised to make out the H shape plus light/shade. Nice

Barry

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Had some astro friends around some months back - in the days of clear skies and non hurricane force winds - and while giving them a general show of the night sky, spotted a v. bright satellite coming over from the west. Assuming by it's brightness that it was the ISS, later confirmed, I shoved the 10" S/C into the "flight path" and has stunned to see that H shape that Bart also described.

Everyone in the group that night managed to get a quick glimpse of this iconic piece of hardware as a physical shape, rather than just the usual "blob of light" and commented on how much they enjoyed the sight in the scope.

Give it a try yourself if you get a chance.

Les 

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i managed it for the first time the other night, completely by accident...made my night!

noticed it just above the horizon in the south west, really bright and at first it appears to move so slowly that you may even think it's a star.

then the speed really picks up as it gets overhead and probably the best you'll get then is for it to whizz through your FOV.

as others have said, use your widest EP - and if you can, try and pick it up as soon and as low as possible - i think that'll be your best chance of seeing some shape.

i only thought afterwards to check stellarium - will see if i can be ready for it next time!

good luck

rich

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i only thought afterwards to check stellarium - will see if i can be ready for it next time!

good luck

rich

There are apps for that, just not sure of their names, please just search the store or equivalents

Barry

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Hears the nasa link for the space station. http://spotthestation.nasa.gov  Sign up to get updates when its visabale over the UK.

There are apps for that, just not sure of their names, please just search the store or equivalentsBarry

For those who use 'android' devices there is "ISS Detector". I have found it to be the most accurate.

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Every time the ISS is above me hear on the South coast this year it's  either :clouds2:  lashing down with rain or clouded  :clouds1: out Grrrr, 

Another pass over head tonight Time: Fri Feb 14 6:33 PM, Visible: 3 min, Max Height: 87 degrees, Appears: W, Disappears: ENE hear, 

The Weather forecast for tonight gales heavy rain :clouds2:  :huh: .

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Every time the ISS is above me hear on the South coast this year it's  either :clouds2:  lashing down with rain or clouded  :clouds1: out Grrrr, 

Another pass over head tonight Time: Fri Feb 14 6:33 PM, Visible: 3 min, Max Height: 87 degrees, Appears: W, Disappears: ENE hear, 

The Weather forecast for tonight gales heavy rain :clouds2:  :huh: .

If only I could see through the snow..........

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I have done this myself with a lot of difficulty.  However, due to it's speed I was unable to see much detail.  I hope you can see more!

Isabelle

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This guy, Thierry Legault, is well known for incredible shots and videos of the ISS. I think he uses some sort of hyper tuned mount to track it.

http://www.astrophoto.fr

Stu

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Ive managed with my 16inch dob and was suprised with the detail. As people have said you need a widefield eyepiece and get it when its low and preferably moving toward you, that way its angular movement is small as once it gains height it picks up speed which makes catching it difficult.

cheers

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I swung my dob at it once when I happened to notice it passing over, and was able to follow it for a bit - a shakey view and the whole thing was bright white but I could clearly see the outline of the solar panels.

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It is fairly easy with binoculars and some great detail can be seen. :laugh: 

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I have tracked it with my manual pushed 8" on an nequatorial mount.

The trick is to look at where the ISS will apear and its track across the sky;

                                              I then line the scope up so as to be able to follow the specific track easily, not always poss when polar aligned.

                                              Some passes / tracks are far more difficult than others, some are ok but need you to be on a step.

                                              I get my body in the right position to view and track the scope,  and then get the ISS as soon as it appears, the lower the better

as it is initially moving quite slowly. You will need slow movement to ensure you are focussed on it well enough.

                                              The veiw can be a bit jumpy, but the detail is superb. It really is a big piece of real-estate.

Mick

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