Capturing The ISS Solar Transit
Capturing an ISS Solar Transit with my StellarVue SV105T, and ZWO ASI174MM camera has been on my “to do” list for a while. It took a few weeks of planning and waiting. I’ve successfully done a previous International Space Station Transit of the moon photo in January, however, the moon was only a crescent. I wanted a full disk transit, right down the middle. On March 8th, 2018 at 9:47:25 am, a few miles south and east of Paris, Texas the ISS would pass between the sun, and a small patch of earth. I had to be there.
Thursday morning I took some time off from work and drove up by Paris, TX. I pulled over on the shoulder of a lonely F.M. road (Farm to Market road for you city folk) and setup my telescope in this very specific and carefully chosen spot about 200 feet from the centerline according to https://transit-finder.com/.
In Dallas, it was starting to become partly cloudy. However, where I was going to be, the clouds were holding off. I was relieved because two previous ISS Solar Transit attempts had to be scrubbed because of the weather.
Assembly and alignment only took about 30 minutes. I had about an hour wait after my kit was dialed in and ready to go. I spent the time making the video linked above, and tinkering with some of the capture settings in SharpCap. Experimentation helped narrow down the exposure duration to be 0.05ms. The sun is just slightly over exposed at that speed, but if I go any faster, I have too many dropped frames and general chaos ensues.
One cup of coffee. Three hours on the road. 160 miles round trip. All for 1.3 seconds to do an International Space Station live capture across the sun.
Equipment Used For Capture:
Final Image in video processing workflow:
SER to AVI conversion with PIPP
ISS Solar Transit video colorization in Adobe Premier CC
ISS Solar Transit Composite Image made out of 15 still TIFF frames extracted from SER file using PIPP.
Manually aligned and stacked in Photoshop CC.
Colorization in Photoshop CC.