Space Station a treat in evening sky

ISS rises in the westThe International Space Station has been putting on a fine show over the UK in recent evenings, and we have had a run of clear, moonless nights to enjoy the spectacle.

It has become an increasingly bright object as shuttle missions get back on track allowing astronauts to continue extending the orbital outpost.

I took the accompanying photographs from Broadstairs, East Kent, last night as the ISS made a pass at around 20.30 UT. Conditions were ideal.

It seemed to take an age to rise high into the sky from the moment I first glimpsed it in the west. That was because I was worried about the effects of light pollution as I held the shutter open. It was long enough for the stars (and Venus) to show clear trailing.

Once it had cleared the frame in my Canon EOS 300D camera, I did a quick swivel in order to take another shot in a shorter space of time.

ISS passes overheadThis showed the ISS passing through Coma Berenices, below the tail of Ursa Major, before sinking into the East and fading into the Earth’s shadow near Arcturus.

The ISS is an impressive sight and it is incredible to think that six humans, including space tourist Charles Simonyi, are currently calling it home. Some amateurs have been driving their telescopes to follow it across the sky and are getting clear pictures of its structure.

Incidentally, the local light pollution did show strongly in the first photo but because I used the Canon at its raw setting I had a fair bit of latitude to play with when applying computer enhancement.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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