Visitors 481
Modified 29-Sep-11
Created 3-Mar-10
9 photos

How to do this yourself: Imaging the ISS and shuttle is actually fairly simple. Required gear and information:
  • Information on time and position of the pass over your location - Heavens Above web site.
  • Telescope - nothing fancy needed. You don't need to use the "GoTo" feature.
  • Simple webcam - I prefer the Philips Vesta Pro or ToUCam
  • Computer - something fast enough to take video from the webcam.
  • Preparation and patience - your first tries may not work!
  • AVI2BMP Software for later image separation from the .avi file.


Once you have all the basic gear, set it up well before the spacecraft come over. Give yourself enough time to set up and prepare the computer and telescope. Rushing this will just end up with nothing, a blurry image,or maybe even forget to start the computer recording! (I've done this many times)
  1. On camera software - Frames per Second: 10 - Brightness: 50% - Gain: 40% (may vary with aperture)
  2. Put mouse pointer on the start button of your recording software. Get ready!
  3. When station shows up on horizon, wait until it's about 30+ degrees high.
  4. Start recording.
  5. Hand-guide the scope keeping the bright station in the middle of the Telrad (preferred) circle.
  6. When station is overhead, knees and back must be bent in most painful position possible for best image!
  7. Stop recording when station is gone, low, behind tree or house.
  8. Play the resulting .avi video and see if station flashes through frames now and then.
  9. Separate good images using AVI2BMP software.
  10. Done! You've captured a spacecraft.
ISS  - April 20, 2007ISS with mission STS-118 Endeavour docked.ISS with full solar panelsPhoto given to Dr. Charles SimonyiISS with full panelsISS flare.NASA ISS Photo

Guestbook for ISS Images
1.Al(non-registered)
Very nice site and impressive photos! I've only seen the Shuttle fly solo in the night sky once (due to the abort-to-orbit flight of Challenger/51F in 1985), and saw the ISS overhead several years ago. I'll try for both again before the Shuttle program ends, and maybe rig up my 6-inch scope to take pictures..
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