Astrophotography by Anthony Ayiomamitis

Satellite Transit Gallery

I have a particular interest in satellite transits across the solar/lunar surfaces due to the opportunity they present the lucky observer to discern greater physical detail and structure as a result of their silhouette against the bright background of the sun and/or moon; the ability to restrict the satellite's location in the daytime or evening sky to an area measuring 0.5x0.5 with little or no effort; it permits for the bypassing of satellite tracking which itself is a challenge due the very short period transits are visible during a particular overhead pass; and the difficulty in obtaining accurate and timely orbital elements and TLE's. As this "search and identify" project has literally become a DAILY ritual, I expect this web page to be updated constantly with more and more images of the very unique phenomena of satellite transits across the solar and/or lunar disks.

Note: The pursuit of the transitting ISS against the solar and/or lunar surface has been an incessant cat-and-mouse game during the past few years. During this time, only three opportunities for a lunar transit presented themselves with the weather and a lack of back-focus sabotaging each of these opportunities. The image below is the first such successful attempt to capture this stunning sight of the transitting ISS (in shadow) and silhouetted against the southeast quadrant of the moon and west of Mare Tranquillitatis and Vaporum. Although the supply cargo ship Progress immediately preceeded the ISS during this transit by a few seconds, it was not visible due to poor atmospheric stability and the low altitude of the rising moon.

Note: The three-dimensional simulated view of the ISS was created using the ISS Simulator V3 software and which represents a depiction of the transitting satellite during the actual overhead pass on this particular date, time and geographical location, move your mouse over the image below.

Note: For a photo of the ISS with Discovery (STS-114) transitting the sun during the summer of 2005, please click here.


Image Details
ISS Transits the Rising Moon
Imaging Details
Satellite(s):
Int Space Station

USSPACECOM Cat No:
25544

Physical Dimensions:
73.0 x 44.5 x 27.5 m

Orbit / Inclination:
340.9 x 351.4 km, 51.6

Range (Image):
722.7 km (ISS)

Angular Diameter:
25.6 " (ISS)

Pass Details (ISS):
Duration   : 0.85 sec
Angular Vel   : 34.9 ' / sec
Direction   : 321.4
Azimuth   : 143.7
Altitude   : 25.6

Launch Date (UTC):
Nov   20, 1998   (ISS)
Date:
Apr 14, 2006
23:57:00 - 23:58:00 UT+3


Location:
Athens, Greece

Equipment:
AP 160 f/7.5 StarFire EDF
Losmandy G-11 GEM
Philips ToUCam PCVC 740k
Baader UV/IR-Cut Filter


Video Imaging:
1 AVI @ 30 fps (1800 frames)
Frame Rate : 30 fps
Exposure : 1/500 sec
Brightness : 100%
Contrast : 50%
Gamma : 80%
Saturation : 0%
Gain : 50%
Mode : Monochrome

Software:
K3CCDTools V2.4.9.895
HandyAVI V1.7
Registax V2.1.0.0
Photoshop CS2


Processing:
Selective Sampling (9/1800)
Layers
Unsharp Masking
Brightness/Contrast
JPG Compression