Stunning Look at ISS and Docked Disovery — From the Ground!


This has to be one of the clearest close-up shots of the International Space Station ever taken from the ground! Plus it has the added bonus of having space shuttle Discovery docked to the station. Ted Judah, who lives in northern California captured this image — one of 150 he took during the an ISS pass over his observatory during the recent STS-131 mission. Here’s Ted’s description:

The ISS came into the morning light over the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of northern California and was tracking north-east as it passed directly over my sea-level observatory. I was lucky there was no fog. I have a Canon 30D SLR and Celestron 11″ Schmidt-Cassagrain on an equatorial mount. I track manually and use my precisely-aligned finderscope to aim – when the ISS is in the crosshairs I shoot like crazy. Of the 150 shots I took, less than half have the ISS in frame.

Ted told me he was “stoked” to get such a clear image. Who wouldn’t be?? Nice work, Ted!

Ted is not new to trying to capture the ISS. He won one of “Phil’s Picks” (Bad Astronomer Phil Plait) in Celestron’s “Capture the Universe” contest with another image of the ISS.

Also, Ted has contributed a couple of podcasts to 365 Days of Astronomy, and one of my all-time favorite podcasts is Ted’s description of how he and his family built an observatory out on his father-in-law’s farm.

Here’s another shot Ted took during the same pass:

The ISS and shuttle Discovery during the STS-131 mission. Credit: Ted Judah

Thanks Ted, for sharing your wonderful images!

3 Replies to “Stunning Look at ISS and Docked Disovery — From the Ground!”

  1. Brilliant job Ted! Love to see how much clearer the photo would be on a scope with adaptive optics. This darn atmosphere plays havoc! …not to mention the subject is moving 18,000 mph.

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