Iridium Satellites

The Iridium satellites are a fleet of 66 communication satellites in low earth orbit. A feature of these satellites is that the antenna's can catch the sunlight and focus it in a beam down to the earth's surface, on a predictable track. This photo of Iridium-49 was caught unintentionally, but knowing the exact time and location of the photo, it was then possible to determine which Iridium satellite it was.

Iridium-49Iridium-49 over Boyanup, Australia on 26-Dec-2013


International Space Station.

The ISS orbits the earth once every 90 minutes, and could theoretically be seen every day from any location on earth that is between latitudes of +/- 50 degrees.  However, the only time it is really observable is when it goes over the observers location either a few hours before sunrise, or a few hours after sunset. This happens several times a month. At this time, the earths surface will already dark, but at 400 kms altitude, the ISS will still in the sunlight.

It's been an objective of mine to get a good photo of the ISS when it passes over head. So far that hasn't happened, and the best photo I have got so far is the one below during December 2013. This one was obtained using a Nikon D800 and FSQ-85 direct connected, and using manual tracking. The resulting image was very small on the photo and lots of zooming to get it this large. The shutter speed was 1/60 sec which was probably too slow and it's likely that the image below has motion blur.

Hopefully, one day I will get a better photo!

ISSISS over Bangkok, Thailand on 4-Dec-2013. Still hoping for a better photo sometime.