Monday, February 28, 2011

Crowded Skies

Tonight NASA's solar sail satellite passed over Tucson at 7:35pm. A difficult object to see as it is realively small. I decided to try and capture it "on film" (well - with my digital camera). Because the event happened in late twilight, lasted only 60 seconds (for the field of view I chose) and I was imaging from my light polluted house - exposures had to be made at high ISO (to ensure capture of the satellite) and threrefore realtively short (as not to overexpose the bright sky background).

Below is the result - NanosailD is the dashed diagonal line running from top-center to bottom left. The trail appears dashed because this image is actually a combination of 15 four second exposures with a one second gap between exposures. the NanosailD trail is but one of 6 satellites captured in the 60 seconds worth of exposures - can you find them? Click on the picture for a larger view.


Paul said...

Very cool, Dave! I like it!

Dean said...

Hi Dave-
You caught yourself a boatload of geosynchronous sats - the ones that line up with M42, and likely the one above the belt too! Ironically, if you hadn't tracked the exposures, they would be points with the stars trailed! I didn't see any flares from Nano-Sail.