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Old 08-11-2014, 01:18 PM
kkara4 (Krishan)
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Tracking the ISS

I have an idea, and that is to use the guidescope to track the ISS. Good accuracy is not so much of an issue provided i can keep it in the FOV @ approx 50x.

I know PHD2 of course works very well in guiding a slowly drifting star, but what about a relatively fast moving satellite (eg ISS)?

Or perhaps another program is out there that is more suitable?

If anyone has successfully tracked the ISS with an equatorial mount im keen to hear your thoughts/how you did it!
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Old 08-11-2014, 01:30 PM
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This bloke is the master at doing this http://www.astrophoto.fr/
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Old 08-11-2014, 01:39 PM
kkara4 (Krishan)
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This bloke is the master at doing this http://www.astrophoto.fr/
Thierry Legault is certainly the master! Incredible images, and seeing them is the exact reason im posting this topic because I dont know how he tracks the ISS the way he does! He has a losmandy titan (i have a g11 with gemini ii), but that is all the info given on his about me page.

Was hoping to get some more insight

He is holding some kind of remote in his pictures, like he is flying a helicopter while his telescope does all the work
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Old 08-11-2014, 01:46 PM
kkara4 (Krishan)
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ok got it:

http://legault.perso.sfr.fr/EM400.html

i think i will start with manual tracking

Although a guidescope is used, so then it just comes down to software. i wonder if i can get PHD2 to track it provided i get it initially locked
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Old 13-11-2014, 12:00 PM
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you can photograph the ISS hand held with a camera. It's bright enough to see to keep in shot and sun lit so you use a fast shutter speed (like shooting the moon). As it moves across the sky the angle it appears to you changes so you can put together an animation of it "rotating" if you want. Far easier than you expect. catching it against a sun/moon disc is a bit more effort but there are apps and websites to help work out when they align from your location.(havent tried them yet, only just started shooting the ISS when i had my stroke, still cant use my dslr hand held to continue just yet).
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Old 13-11-2014, 03:30 PM
kkara4 (Krishan)
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Sorry to hear about your stroke Sil, how you recover fully and quickly!

I have no interest in shooting handheld with DSLR. Done it already with 600mm focal length, cant get enough pixels on the space station to sample it well enough, need to use the telescope. I practiced the other day with clutches fully loose, I was not able to smoothly track manually. I am going to try with my brother's help and see how i go.
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Old 17-11-2014, 03:31 PM
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I use a D800 so get plenty of pixels to play with and fast shutter speed I get good data to work with. just amazing what we can do with consumer gear these days.

somethin i noticed when I started with ISS is that it wasn't where heavens above, starry night or stellarium told me it would be. for examplewith a longer exposure on tripod you get the track of the ISS and can see where it is in relation to the background stars. I never found a star map that gave me an accurate prediction of the iss path for me. This was a while ago. If you use something you find is spot on you could always set up the your gear to point to a region the ISS will cross, then use a fast continuous shoot mode to catch it as it crosses the shot.

I don't know if a guide cam will work during the day to let you practice on aircraft. Hand held was tricky at first for me getting balanced so i could smoothly follow the iss took a little practice. i certainly got plenty of unusable shots but just getting my eye in gave me shots I was happy with, I'm using good 2.8 lenses too. use a mirror up mode if you can, I also hang a heavy weight under my tripods to dampen shutter vibrations. good luck with it, the thought of manually slinging a large scope quickly is scary.
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Old 17-11-2014, 05:43 PM
kkara4 (Krishan)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sil View Post
I use a D800 so get plenty of pixels to play with and fast shutter speed I get good data to work with. just amazing what we can do with consumer gear these days.

somethin i noticed when I started with ISS is that it wasn't where heavens above, starry night or stellarium told me it would be. for examplewith a longer exposure on tripod you get the track of the ISS and can see where it is in relation to the background stars. I never found a star map that gave me an accurate prediction of the iss path for me. This was a while ago. If you use something you find is spot on you could always set up the your gear to point to a region the ISS will cross, then use a fast continuous shoot mode to catch it as it crosses the shot.

I don't know if a guide cam will work during the day to let you practice on aircraft. Hand held was tricky at first for me getting balanced so i could smoothly follow the iss took a little practice. i certainly got plenty of unusable shots but just getting my eye in gave me shots I was happy with, I'm using good 2.8 lenses too. use a mirror up mode if you can, I also hang a heavy weight under my tripods to dampen shutter vibrations. good luck with it, the thought of manually slinging a large scope quickly is scary.
Thanks Sil, what lenses have you been using?
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Old 17-11-2014, 06:10 PM
kkara4 (Krishan)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sil View Post
I use a D800 so get plenty of pixels to play with and fast shutter speed I get good data to work with. just amazing what we can do with consumer gear these days.

somethin i noticed when I started with ISS is that it wasn't where heavens above, starry night or stellarium told me it would be. for examplewith a longer exposure on tripod you get the track of the ISS and can see where it is in relation to the background stars. I never found a star map that gave me an accurate prediction of the iss path for me. This was a while ago. If you use something you find is spot on you could always set up the your gear to point to a region the ISS will cross, then use a fast continuous shoot mode to catch it as it crosses the shot.

I don't know if a guide cam will work during the day to let you practice on aircraft. Hand held was tricky at first for me getting balanced so i could smoothly follow the iss took a little practice. i certainly got plenty of unusable shots but just getting my eye in gave me shots I was happy with, I'm using good 2.8 lenses too. use a mirror up mode if you can, I also hang a heavy weight under my tripods to dampen shutter vibrations. good luck with it, the thought of manually slinging a large scope quickly is scary.
Sil, have you tried http://www.satflare.com/track.asp?q=25544#TOP
?

It looks great, and I have a pass on 20th Nov I think, so might give it a test and see how accurate it is.

I think it is a great idea to know where it is going to be, I have a plan in place. Provided of course satflare is accurate (it sounds like it would be from their video tutorials and things)

I wonder if focusing on a star is adequate for proper focus, otherwise I suppose it is trial and error.
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Old 24-11-2014, 05:25 PM
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I haven't seen that iss tracker site before. I was steady enough to track it hand held and catch it between the trees. Now I'm doing my AP with a superzoom camera and will try it out for the ISS.

On my Nikon i mostly used a 105mm f2.8 macro lense. Soon before I had the stroke I started using the 70-200mm f2.8 but hadn't tried it on the ISS yet. Holds focus nicely, my sigma 150-500 lense slowly winds itself inwards and out of focus when i point it up.

As for focus I have taken focus off the shutter button on several of my cameras and reassigned to othe buttons. On the D800e I use a button for continuous focus for the iss. works very well. a quick dab on the button it locks focus fast, but hold it down its continuous focus, so i have flexibility i'm happy with. the iss is bright enough to focus the d800 quick enough, other cameras not so good.

The problem with focus is the ISS is roughly 450 miles above the ground but its distance to you will change so I wasnt sure about it being sharp enough if i stopped my lense down a bit or if i captured focus as it was rising. Plus you don't know if you got focus for certain so your whole series of shot for the night might be out of focus. So i use refocus every 15sec or so then take a burst of shots, rinses and repeat. So i end up with a ton of shots to go through and find the best focus ones. You can't really use registration and integration techniques to get a clearer shot as with other astrophotos, as in relation to you on the ground the ISS appears to rotate but you might be lucky with fast bursts to combine.

Last edited by sil; 25-11-2014 at 11:08 AM.
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