Sunday, March 29, 2009

A very brief peek at the ISS.....and the curse continues

Finally, we had a day today that almost looked like spring, but still a little cool. I spent a few hours out in the observatory cleaning up unused cables, vacuuming the carpet (yes, we do have a carpet in there), and even spent about an hour cleaning up the corrector plate on the scope. The corrector had a couple years worth of pollen, dead bugs, and other gunk stuck on it.
The moon was out as a thin crescent and was a tempting target, and a good focusing object for the upcoming ISS pass at 8:20. It was going to be a perfect photo pass at about 60 degrees up, and slightly to the south. I was excited about the promising skies and finally a chance to get some good images of the station with the new panels completed.
I played with the moon a while then looked up, uh, no, NO, not again!! Maybe I should just start assuming this will always happen? Yes, clouds moving in at just the time of the ISS pass. I wasn't going to waste it, so I tried anyway. Got a couple little peeks through some holes, but that was all. It should have been a full pass, clear skies, and possibly a whole bunch of good images. Nope.
15 minutes later after cussing,swearing, and shaking fist at the sky, and restraining mysef from kicking the computer (I updated Windows and my imaging software refused to run now - thanks again Microsoft), skies cleared again.
Ok, I did get one somewhat decent image but I forgot to remove the 6.3 focal reducer since I was using it on the moon, so it should have been a little bigger. The cloud photo is an actual photo taken after the pass to share my pain.
I got one fairly good shot, so I should stop complaining. No forget it, I have a good reason to complain. Grrr!
(click for full size image)


Anonymous said...

At last! I've been waiting for a break in the weather, and then to see one of your pictures of the complete station. Drat, that the solar wings on one end didn't play fair. But it's exciting. Other people just get a glaring streak and call it good.

Tom said...

Yeah, they didn't show up, but if you look closely they are there, just dim. I'm sure it would have been more visible if I wasn't shooting through clouds. What's even more aggravating, a big hole briefly passed over just after the station pass. If it just waited 10 minutes later....
But then again, the skies are about as clear as the water in my hot tub after 4 teenagers spent a bit too much time in it. :-P