Spectacular new ISS picture... from the ground!

Spectacular new ISS picture... from the ground!

Spectacular new ISS picture... from the ground!

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Sept. 1 2009 7:41 AM

Spectacular new ISS picture... from the ground!


The very talented astrophotographer Ralf Vandebergh has done it again! He's captured an astonishing view of the International Space Station:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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ISS picture by Ralf Vandebergh

Wow. You may remember Ralf's earlier ISS shot, or when he caught an astronaut doing an EVA.

This image was taken on August 29, before the current Discovery mission, and shows the station gleaming in sunlight. On the right he has helpfully pointed out the Japanese Experiment Module, named Kibo. It consists of a pressurized module as well as a platform outside, exposed to space. The Exposed Facility was brought up to ISS in late July 2009 by Endeavour, and is the newest addition to the station.

[UPDATE! Ralf just sent me another great shot, this one taken after the Shuttle launch, as Discovery approached the station. The Orbiter is not in the same field of view as ISS so he added it to the ISS picture as an inset:

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ISS and the Shuttle Discovery by Ralf Vandebergh

Pretty cool, huh?]

Mind you, this shot was taken with a 10 inch telescope, which is considered small-to-moderate in size these days. Even more amazing, Ralf manually tracks the telescope while taking pictures of the station! No fancy computers autoguiding or anything like that. Just good old-fashioned steady hands and lots and lots of practice.

Congrats to Ralf for another incredible shot!