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 capture of a solar transit by the International Space Station was an incessant chase for 3-4 years until July 28, 2005 when the ISS (with STS-114) was finally captured transiting against the Sun and which included the space shuttle Discovery. Approximately nine months later, the ISS was also caught transiting the rising moon (click here) albeit at a very low altitude. My best ISS transit capture occurred in 2010 when the ISS was at a range of 432.4 km away. During the same year, I was able to also capture the ISS during the day transiting Jupiter at a range of 439.5 km as well as Mars at a range of 565.9 km.

Due to solar minimum, there is absolutely no sunspot activity visible on the Sun and which has been characteristic of many days during this period.

Note: Following my successful capture of the ISS with the space shuttle Discovery (STS-114) transiting the sun on late July/2005 and which appeared on NASA's APOD (AstroPhoto of the Day, July 29, 2005), I received many requests for instructions in the identification and observation of similar opportunities and which are now fully documented here.

Note: For a complete set of images involving solar transits of the International Space Station, click here.


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

USSPACECOM Cat No:
25544 (ISS)

Physical Dimensions:
109.0 x 73.0 x 27.5m

Orbit / Inclination:
351.3 x 355.1 km, 51.6

Range (Image):
441.6 km

Angular Diameter:
62.6 " (ISS)

Pass Details (ISS):
Duration : 0.55 sec
Angular Vel : 56.9 ' / sec
Direction : 323.8
Azimuth : 160.9
Altitude : 65.6

Launch Date (UTC):
Nov   20, 1998   (ISS)
Date:
Aug 12, 2018
12:57:45 UT+3


Location:
Athens, Greece

Equipment:
AP 160 f/7.5 StarFire EDF
AP 2x Convertible Barlow
AP 1200GTO/CP3 GEM

Canon EOS 6D Mark I
Baader BCF2 Filter
Baader UV/IR-Cut filter
Baader ND-5 (full-aperture)


Exposure:
2 x 1/1600 sec
ISO 800
RAW image format
Custom White Balance
Manual Mode
Continuous Servo Mode


Software:
Digital Photo Pro V4.6.30.0
Photoshop CS5


Processing:
RAW to TIFF (16-bit conv)
Grayscale
Unsharp Masking
Brightness/Contrast
Levels
Resampling
Cropping
JPG Compression