Archive for the Tranzite ISS Category

ISS / Moon transit during daytime – April 13, 2016

Posted in ASTRO, Tranzite ISS on April 14, 2016 by maxpho

On April 13, after a long solar imaging session (see the previous post) I had to drive fast to a location 40 miles away from my usual observing place. The reason for this re-location was a transit of the ISS over the Moon, during daytime. Despite the bad seeing conditions and the cirrus clouds rolling in, I still got a series of frames showing the ISS passing close to the trio of crater Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catharina (lower right corner in the images).

The setup for this transit: 115mm F/5 TS APO Refractor, 3x Barlow lens, ASI 174MM camera with no filters.

First, a composed image made from overlaying eleven shots in PS, and also a bit more contrast:

iss and moon.jpg

One frame of the series, with very little processing (some noise removal), showing the lack of contrast in a daytime shot:

16 02 26 TL.jpg

And of course, the animation. Notice that some frames are missing (at the beginning of the pass) due to technical problems with the laptop (it actually shut down only 10 seconds after finishing the acquisition for this event!).

anim tranzit.gif


Best of Maximus Astro-Photography – 2015

Posted in ASTRO, Evenimente, Tranzite ISS on December 31, 2015 by maxpho

This is the last day of 2015 and, as some others recap the successes or failures and plan strategies for the upcoming year, I’ll recap some of the best astro-shots of this year; they are either the best in terms of technique, artistic significance or importance of the subject.



The main subject that I (and many others) followed during this month, and afterwards, was comet Q2 Lovejoy.


Link to the original post here.

This comet passed near the Pleiades also:


Link to the original post here.


In February comet Q2 Lovejoy was still pretty much the most photogenic object, with its long ion tail interacting with the solar wind:


Link to the original post here.


March had one more interesting comet visible along side Q2 Lovejoy. It was a very brief yet extremely interesting evolution of a SOHO comet named C/2015 D1. This little fellow disintegrated after passing too close to our star. To image this comet in the very bright dusk skies was a challenge. The same night I’ve observed this comet, Lovejoy and the Moon were present:


Link to the original post here.

In March I’ve also acquired my first acceptable Jupiter shot with the then-new homemade 14 inch scope:


Link to the original post here.

Also in March we had a partial solar eclipse, which was almost lost to clouds, but I did manage to take a few shots.


Link to the original post here.


After a long break in Astrophotography due to a different interest and some expeditions to find rare insects and reptiles, I’ve rebooted myself and restarted imaging the sky.

We had some very nice and quite large sunspot groups this year, and in August the planet Venus was also close to our Sun (apparently) which made possible to image both the star and planet during daytime.

Following is a composition showing the two:


Link to the original post here.

Many interesting sunspots made me get out more often in the beautiful Summer days:


Link to the original post here.


September was the month in which I made my dreams come true in terms of Astrophotography. With the finished 14 inch scope, and the new ASI 120MM-S camera (the old 120mm stopped working in December 2014) I’ve finally got my first great resolution shots of the Moon, practically at the limit of a 14 inch scope. This is what I’ve wanted from the very first days (10 years ago maybe) I’ve seen some fantastically sharp and detailed shots on the LPOD site, made by amateurs with amateur equipment.

But before those HR shots, a “SuperMoon eclipse” shot:


Original post here.

And now, for my best High Resolution shot of September: crater Posidonius.


This is only one of the craters imaged on that session. More can be seen here.

Other HR shots from a different September session show also very fine details at the lunar surface, some of 350 meters!



Original post here.

Another incredible session from September, with images showing details inside the Ina caldera and small rilles inside large craters:



Link to the original post here.


October was good to experiment a bit with the processing techniques and some interesting result came out of this.

My very first HR-HDR (High Resolution – High Dynamic Range) lunar shots:


Original post here.

And another HR/HDR view:


Original post here.

October continued with some great/excellent seeing conditions, so HR images of lunar areas continued:




Original post here.

In October we also had a nice “hiding” of Aldebaran by our Moon:


Original post here.


November continued with good seeing, and the Moon was again the main target. But some other objects were observed, like the famous Sirius b and a very tiny Mars at only 4.4 arc seconds.



Original post here.

HR lunar shots were again possible…


Original post here.

…as were some other experimental processing techniques:


Link to original post here.


December was a pretty full month for me, due mostly to the good seeing conditions (which were actually abnormal for this month at my location) and a few nice events.

An ISS transit over the Moon:


Original link here.

I’ve also been lucky enough to capture a plane into my small field of view while imaging a large sunspot:


Original post here.

And the last HR lunar session of the year, with very good seeing conditions:


Original post here.

One final “astro” shot, showing the Moon rising:



Some “astro-hopes” for 2016:

-Hope to increase the success in lunar/solar/planetary imaging in 2016, since a new camera just arrived (the ZWO ASI 174MM),

-Hope to be more active also in the Summer nights, despite other interests,

-Have a very large Lunar mosaic showing an entire lunar phase in HR.

-And hope to get under darker skies and marvel at the Milky Way and other deep sky objects together with my wife and anyone truly interested in conversations regarding our place in the Universe 🙂 !

Have a Great 2016 !


December 31, 2015

ISS, Sun and sunspots – July 5th, 2014

Posted in ASTRO, Tranzite ISS on July 7, 2014 by maxpho

What a great Saturday! It should have been a “Sun-day”. At least for myself, my wife and her brother.

After starting the day with some quick looks through the eyepiece at the great sunspot groups facing the Earth, we’ve traveled for 40 kilometers towards the South, near the city of Daia, Giurgiu. There we’ve mounted our instruments on a hill, at 30 plus degrees Celsius. The reason for this excursion was that from this location the International Space Station would pass near some of the sunspot groups visible at the time, and I was eager to try something new: catch the ISS transiting the Sun at a higher focal length but with a much shorter field of view. This was possible after some calculations were made with pencil and paper as tools, to approximate where should we position ourselves, in relation to the maximum transit visibility band, to catch the ISS passing next to the sunspots. And, surprisingly, I’ve managed to estimate the position quite good. But of course, none of that would have been possible without the CalSky prediction. It’s very nice to catch such a short duration event like the ISS transiting the Sun or Moon when you have all the details from this site.

And now, the images…

I’ll start with the sunspot groups first, and a global image of the groups:

Sunspot groups July 5, 2014 color copy

Sunspot groups July 5, 2014

Group 2108:


Groups 2104 and 2107:

Sunspota 2104 and 2107

And AR2109:

Evolution of AR2109

For this group I also have a two-image animation showing the evolution in a time period of four and a half hours:


The Sun is truly a dynamic object!

And now for the ISS transit…

The first image was acquired by my wife, using her filtered 90mm Maksutov and Canon 550D working at 1/3200s and ISO 100. She got the ISS in two frames, so two silhouettes of the ISS are visible in the image:

ISS transit ElizaT

The second image is mine, using the 115mm F/7 APO Refractor at F/17 and ASI120MM camera with Baader Green CCD and Astrosolar full-aperture filters. I’ve got the ISS passing close to groups 2107 (lower-left) and 2104 in three frames, but unfortunately the seeing in those seconds was not good enough to get a decent solar surface shot. And also the shape of the ISS is a bit off, due to the image acquisition-transfer mode of the camera. I think I won’t be using the ASI120MM for this type of events, where a very fast-moving object crosses the field of view.

So, the image:

ISS transiting the Sun

And I’ve also assembled a short animation from the RAW frames, showing the transit in almost real-time (acquisition was made at 21fps, animation is at 20fps), and at 2fps, so in slow motion to better understand what was the black object moving in front of the Sun. Observe also the seeing conditions changing when the ISS passes…


Well, after all, I think this “Sun-day” Saturday was a very good day for solar imaging, despite the strange positions I had to get in, to be able to focus and re-focus on the low-light and low-contrast screen of my laptop. One of those positions is visible in the image below (yes, my face is not visible due to the black shirt I was using as a Sun-shield), captured close to the transit moment by my wife’s brother, Mihai. Also notice the Moon in the upper left part of the photograph.


My image with the ISS transiting the Sun was featured on the first page of SpaceWeather, where my wife’s image was also mentioned. It was truly a family weekend :).


(July 7, 2014)




ISS transiting the Sun – June 30th, 2014

Posted in ASTRO, Tranzite ISS on June 30, 2014 by maxpho

After a very long period of no transits of the ISS over the Sun, I have finally got a chance of perfectly clear skies and a close flyby of the ISS at around 470km. Together with my wife I drove a few kilometers from my workplace and settled into a corn field at 30 degrees Celsius. When the moment came we’ve both pushed our remote control buttons and got the dark silhouette of the ISS close to the freshly emerged sunspot groups 2104 and 2107.

The equipment: 90mm Maksutov and Canon 550D  at 1/2000s and ISO 100 for my wife, and a 115mm at f/18  APO Refractor and Canon 550D at 1/3200s and ISO 100 for me. Both with Baader solar filters (of course) on EQ-6 and EQ-3 equatorial mounts. Data for the transit were, as always, calculated for us via CalSky.

Combined image from the two photos showing the ISS:

ISS June 30, 2014 s

A crop image of the ISS close to the two large sunspot groups:


The above image was featured on SpaceWeather.

Sorin Hotea also posted the image on the website he maintains: AstroInfo.

Close-ups of the ISS from the two images showing the Station and the different distortion effects due to the atmosphere:

ISS June 30, 2014 detail

My wife’s image:

ISS Transit 2

The CalSky prediction:

Calsky prediction

And yet another image showing the names of the visible sunspot groups and some of the more easily identifiable ISS components:

ISS and Sun June 30


(June 30, 2014)


Tranzit ISS peste Soare – 25 August 2013

Posted in ASTRO, Tranzite ISS on August 25, 2013 by maxpho

Un nou tranzit al Statiei Spatiale Internationale peste discul Soarelui.

De aceasta data am ales ca punct de observare un drum tertiar de langa localitatea Neajlovu (Dambovita) la coordonatele  Lat: 44°39’40.99″N, Long: 25°17’0.29″E. Din nou intr-un camp deci…

Atat eu cat si sotia am reusit sa surprindem Statia in cate doua cadre, chiar inainte ca un nor sa se formeze peste discul solar.

Eu am avut ca echipament:

Telescop D=150mm Maksutov (F/12), Canon 550D (achizitie JPEG), Astrosolar full aperture filter (ND 3.8), ISO 100, 1/4000s.

Imaginile rezultate:

1)  Imaginea cu camp larg (si ambele pozitii ale Statiei pe acelasi cadru):


2) Imagine de detaliu ale pozitiilor Statiei fata de unul dintre grupurile de pete solare prezente:

iss TRANSIT crop color

3) Imagine de detaliu a Statiei redimensionata la 200%:

crop iss

Sotia a avut alt echipament:

Maksutov 90mm (F/~12), filtru Astrosolar ND 3.8, Canon 550D, ISO 100 si 1/4000 s.



Detaliile tranzitului (conform CalSky):

Ora: 14h33m41s

Durata tranzit: 0.75s

Latimea de banda: 6.61km

Diametru ISS: 53.43″


Un frumos tranzit de vara, cu temperatura la fata locului de 30 de grade si destul de multa turbulenta atmosferica.

Il asteptam pe urmatorul…


(25 August 2013)

Tranzit ISS si alte astrofotografii prin Retezat – Iulie 2013

Posted in ASTRO, Tranzite ISS on July 23, 2013 by maxpho

Desi inca nu am terminat de procesat fotografiile pentru un post dedicat primei mele vizite in Retezat pe 2013, postez acum doar partea de Astrofotografie realizata in noaptea de 12 spre 13 Iulie si pe timp de zi in 13 Iulie.

Incep cu partea “de zi”, si anume un tranzit al Statiei Spatiale Internationale peste Soare.

Cu mare mirare si bucurie am avut parte de un astfel de eveniment chiar in perioada in care ma aflam intr-un scurt concediu in apropierea localitatii Nucsoara (Hunedoara) cazat fiind la Cabana Soarelui.

Banda de totalitate a evenimentului a trecut la doar cativa kilometrii de “dormitor”.

Detaliile tranzitului (via site-ul CalSky):

Diametrul unghiular=60.67″

Distanta Statie-observator=458.5 km,

Durata tranzitului=0.58 s,

Data si ora tranzitului la locatia observatorului: 13 Iulie 2013, 13h16m49.4s.

Locatia observatorului:  45°28’58.23″N,  22°55’49.21″E

Echipamentul utilizat: Telescop D=150mm Maksutov (F/12), Canon 550D (achizitie RAW), Astrosolar full aperture filter (ND 3.8), ISO 100, 1/4000s.

Si imaginea (de fapt imaginile, silueta Statiei din primul cadru fiind suprapusa peste imaginea Soarelui din cel de al doilea cadru in care am surprins-o):

ISS large

Si o imagine de detaliu a Statiei:

ISS crop

Si acum, un pic inapoi in timp, cu cateva ore doar, la imaginile de deep-sky realizate in noaptea precedenta tranzitului.

Echipamentul pentru fotografiile de mai jos:

Luneta TS 65Q APO (D=65 mm, F=420 mm), Canon 550D, montura NEQ6 cu ghidaj via PHD prin cautator 9×50 si camera Meade DSI I.

Cu ocazia acestei sesiuni am avut placerea de a realiza imagini cu timpi de expunere de pana la (inclusiv) 10 minute ! Ghidaj bun deci, cel putin pentru mine.

Incep cu nebuloasa obscura “E-ul lui Barnard” (Barnard 142-143).

Imaginea este suma a 10 cadre de cate 6 minute la ISO 3200 si 1600, pentru un timp total de expunere de 1 ora.

Picture saved with settings embedded.

Un al doilea subiect insa nu a dorit sa fie imortalizat, norii negri acoperind regiunea respectiva inainte de a achizitiona un numar decent de cadre. (Fara poluare luminoasa norii apar ca imense pete negre pe fundalul instelat, semn ca locatia respectiva e una buna pentru astrofotografie, ne-afectata deci de poluarea luminoasa !)

Chiar si asa am reusit sa le smulg cativa fotoni celebrelor nebuloase Trifid si Lagoon (M 20 si M 8).

Doar 4 cadre au fost suprapuse, fiecare la ISO 1600 si timpi de expunere de la 2 la 5 minute, pentru un timp total de expunere de doar 15 minute.

Picture saved with settings embedded.

Si ultimul subiect abordat in cele doar 3 ore de cer senin de care am avut parte: galaxia din Andromeda (M 31). Imaginea de mai jos este practic doar un test de ghidaj, asta pentru ca pana m-am apucat sa schimb “tinta” de la M 8 la M 31, apoi sa refac alinierea pentru ghidaj, cativa nori cirrus impreuna cu umezeala din aer (galaxia rasarind in acele momente in spatele unui deal) au facut imposibila achizitia unor cadre cat de cat decente ale acestui obiect.

Asadar imaginea este un test, cu 6 cadre avand timpi de expunere de la 3 la 10 minute, ISO de la 800 la 3200, si un timp total de expunere de 40 minute.

Picture saved with settings embedded.

Imaginea doar ma “atentioneza” spre ce ar putea sa iasa dintr-o sesiune de cateva ore la acest obiect in conditii favorabile (cer curat, obiect mai sus pe cer), ceea ce o sa vad sper intr-o sesiune viitoare.


(23 Iulie 2013)

Tranzit ISS peste Soare – 9 Iulie 2013

Posted in ASTRO, Tranzite ISS on July 9, 2013 by maxpho

Si inca un tranzit. In ultima vreme se pare ca numai de asa ceva ma ocup :)…

De aceasta data am fost insotit de sotia mea si de un “coleg de breasla” Valentin Stoica, fiecare fiind pregatit cu instrumentul si aparatul lui.

“Banda de totalitate” a tranzitului ne-a dus langa localitatea Tanganu la cativa kilometrii est de Bucuresti, in apropiere de padurea Cernica.

Cum nu am avut pana acum “deplina liniste” la vreun tranzit, nici acesta nu a facut exceptie; cativa nori au traversat discul solar cu doar cateva momente inainte de eveniment, ceea ce a facut ca turbulenta sa creasca simtitor fata de minutele anterioare. Norocul nostru a fost ca norii cu pricina au avut “bunul-simt” sa elibereze discul Soarelui cu vreo 20 de secunde inainte de trecerea Statiei.

Echipamentul pentru primele imagini: Maksutov 150mm (F/12), filtru Astrsolar ND 3.8, Canon 550D la ISO 100 si 1/2500 s expunere. Deoarece durata tranzitului a fost scurta, am reusit surprinderea statiei pe doar 2 cadre.

ISS transit July 9, 2013 with details

O imagine de rezolutie mai mare:

ISS transit July 9, 2013

In paralel pe telescopul Maksutov am avut montata si luneta TS APO 65Q cu barlow TV 2.5x si camera ASI 120MM (cu filtrul Baader Solar Continuuum), si evident filtrul frontal Astrosolar ND 3.8. Cu setup-ul respectiv am reusit sa surprind in 4 cadre ISS-ul, in apropiere de grupurile de pete solare prezente.

ISS transit July 9, 2013 small refractor

Si acum imaginile sotiei.

Echipamentul ei: Maksutov 90mm (F/~12), filtru Astrosolar ND 3.8, Canon 550D, ISO 100 si 1/2500 s. Si ea tot in doua cadre a reusit sa surprinda Statia, insa distanta focala a instrumentului utilizat i-a permis o incadrare completa a discului solar:


Si un detaliu:


Amandoi am inceput sa deprindem din ce in ce mai bine “mestesugul” tranzitelor ISS, asa ca il asteptam pe urmatorul..


(9 Iulie 2013)