Image title: ISS passing over Britain as seen from Torkington Park Stockport

ISS passing over Britain as seen from Torkington Park Stockport

The International Space Station regularly passes over Britain and Ireland and can be clearly seen. It looks like a very bright star moving slowly across the sky. It could be mistaken for an aircraft but it's a lot brighter and there are no flashing lights. The light from the ISS is reflected from the sun. Although night has already fallen at ground level, at around 180 miles above the Earth, the space station is still in the sun and the light is reflected down towards us. The ISS is generally visible for around five minutes as it passes overhead. A few seconds after I took this shot, it disappeared because it had entered the shadow of the Earth and was no longer reflecting the sunlight.

This is my first attempt at photographing the ISS. I only had just enough time to set up the tripod. It was taken using an exposure time of 30 seconds, aperture f6.3, ISO 800. Compared to my standard aperture of 1/60th second, f5.6 and 200 ISO, the light level of the night sky is around minus 13 stops. The viewpoint is Torkington Park, about 12 miles south east of Manchester city centre. Although it is within the conurbation, there is not too much glare from street lighting and there is a great view of the night sky.


ISS passing over Britain as seen from Torkington Park Stockport



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Technical details:
Canon DSLR camera

Astronomy, astronomical photography, stars, spaceships, stargazing, Manchester, Cheshire

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Aidan O'RourkeAidan O'Rourke has been active in photography and online media since 1995. He has documented the development of the local area in his Eyewitness website (1997-2005) and as a contributor to books, publications and the Manchester Evening News. He runs his Eyewitness photography walks in Manchester, Liverpool and other locations. He offers one-to-one tuition in Photography and Languages. He is a high-level speaker of German and can offer photography walks and tours through the medium of German. Visit www.aidan.co.uk

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