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Hello all,

I'm brand new to astronomy, but I had a fun time Tuesday night and thought I'd share.  I downloaded a free app on my iPad called ISS Spotter. It has a forecast that tells when the International Space Station will be visible from your location. It said I'd be able to see it in 8 minutes, so I grabbed my 10x50 binoculars and headed outside. Exactly on cue, I was able to see a bright spot moving quite fast across the sky. I grabbed my binoculars, and while I couldn't make out any detail of the station I WAS able to see that the bright spot was indeed TWO bright spots. I ran inside and interrupted my wife's viewing of the latest Star Trek movie on tv. She came out and saw it too. She was incredulous that we were watching a no-kidding space station with people inside streaking by.

I'm sure this is probably boring for a lot of you. But hat a fun sighting!  We can't wait till our 90mm MAK arrives on Saturday.  Anyway, I thought I'd share the info about the app.  Get it!

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Hi,

Glad you enjoyed watching the ISS as much as I (and many here) do. It is fascinating to watch and occasionally it is possible to see the supply ship trailing along with it before it docks or un-docks.

The real fun comes when you try to track it with a telescope! Very difficult but very possible and it is fabulous to see the shape of the structure screaming through your eyepiece :cool:

I hope you and your wife enjoy the new scope when it arrives.

Derek

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it is a good time of year to see it, you seem to be able to see nearly every dusk till dawn pass :)

I tried tracking it in my scope the other night, but it was very hard, could just about make out a bit of structure.

nice spot

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Me and the missus saw the ISS in our Pajama's last night!

I used an app ISS detector on android to determine the time of the transit and then ran stellarium to see the key features it would be near to ,so for example I knew it would be north of Acturus at 23.49 and 32 seconds. I needn't have bothered it was brighter and bigger and faster than any plane. Amazing, it silent of course but you almost expect a whooshing sound as it appears so near and so solid.

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So um, which Star Trek were you watching?  Wrath of Kahn and Undiscovered Country are my favs.

In all seriousness, the ISS is a pretty cool target. 

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On 6/3/2016 at 01:21, Brad737 said:

a no-kidding space station with people inside streaking by.

I'm sure this is probably boring for a lot of you. But hat a fun sighting!  We can't wait till our 90mm MAK arrives on Saturday.  Anyway, I thought I'd share the info about the app.  Get it!

I think any human being ought to get a thrill from watching the ISS fly over - you'd have to be a pretty cold fish to remain unimpressed by it. For the time being it's the only thing in the night sky where we know there's life  (apart from the Chinese station -Tiangong). 

You can use Calsky.com to predict with greater accuracy where the ISS will be from your location and 'ambush' it in your telescope as it crosses the disk of the sun (with appropriate filters to protect your eyesight) or moon. I've tried tracking it in the sky with my scope but have not yet succeeded in getting anything other than a white streak.

When your mak comes you could also download a list of the Apollo landing sites on the moon and find them. Enjoy!

Edited by joncrawf
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Quite fancy having a go at this with the telescope - any idea what kind of magnification is needed to get some detail?

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50 minutes ago, billyharris72 said:

Quite fancy having a go at this with the telescope - any idea what kind of magnification is needed to get some detail?

You don't need much to see the shape of it and it is easiest to catch with a very wide view. The last time I managed it was in an F5 refractor  (Starteavel 120 I think) with a Nagler 31mm on a giro mount. 

I watched a few transits with the naked eye to get used to the speed and direction of travel. I then positioned myself at the west end of the garden in advance of a relatively high transit and waited for it to appear over my right shoulder. The scope was already pointing in the correct general direction and I just kept tracking it with my eye and occasional peeks through the scope to get it aligned on the flight path until it passed into the field of view going directly away from me. Keeping up with it is then easier as you only move the scope through one axis. 

Might have to try it again soon :grin:

 

Edited by DRT

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I have actually caught the ISS with a hand held ST102 and a 25mm eyepiece. Wasn't easy and couldn't make much out but just for a second...

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I caught it this evening! First time I'd got a decent view of it. I was setting up to have a quick view of Jupiter before it dipped behind the house and realised it was due in a few minutes, so was able to get set up and wait for it. It was relatively easy to track it in the Telrad and my wife got a better view than I did while I tracked it this way. You could definitely make out it's shape and the solar panels. According to Stellarium the Cygnus resupply vessel was following close behind but I didn't see it. 

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On June 3, 2016 at 19:43, MarkVIIIMarc said:

So um, which Star Trek were you watching?  Wrath of Kahn and Undiscovered Country are my favs.

In all seriousness, the ISS is a pretty cool target. 

It was the latest one...Edge of Darkness maybe?  The new JJ Abrams version  with Khan.  I like the Abrams flicks, but they don't have quire the same feel as the originals...I find the new ones to be a whole lot more Jason Bourne vs  Shatner.

 

 

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Last night, I tried to catch the ISS through my telescope. It was a nearly overhead pass, amazingly clear skies, and an incredible view of the station.  She passed only 255 miles away, which made for a really FAST pass.  (Yes, I know it's almost always going close to the same speed...but the further away, the less relative velocity...). 

 

Anyway, I tried to line up the ISS with my finder scope.  I've discovered that's it's officially a piece of junk!  laugh.gif  I have the finder fairly well centered, but it has the flipped image, so a newbie like me couldn't translate that into a good telescope view.  In fact, I didn't get to see the station through my scope at all.  

 

I'm shopping for a reflex sight as we speak!

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It will be much easier with a Telrad or Rigel :wink:

 

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Practice tracking planes flying overhead. It takes some getting used to, but you also need to focus while trying to keep up with it. At least for me planes are always flying over, and I was well prepared the first time I had the ISS pass at 82°, it was so bright it took me a while to even realize it was the ISS.

If you have a manual dob, tracking a fast target close to zenith is a nightmare, and definately takes a lot of getting used to. Dont wanna waste all your best passovers trying to get a feel for it.

I line it up in my finderscope, but give it a good lead, then switched to a 30mm and it flies into view, then you just gotta take over from there while getting it into focus.

Edited by Negatron

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