The weather’s better, there’s a nice, high, bright, ISS pass… Let’s see if I can avoid screwing this up two nights in a row, shall we?
It was sweet, especially with a little contrast cleanup in Photoshop.
There was a bright, almost full moon rising, so I kept the exposures shorter, just 2.3 seconds each.
Then I tried to shift to another location to catch the rest of the pass as the ISS swung overhead and headed back toward the southeast where the moon was rising. The rabbits covering the lawn didn’t appreciate it and tried to trip me going down the hill.
I finally made it and got set up to see it fade into night as it got down near the moon (that honkin’ bright thing at the lower left edge).
As I pulled the tripod and started heading home (I had moved a couple houses down the hill to clear the street lights and trees) I noticed another satellite straight overhead. I quickly put the tripod back down and started shooting again.
It was MUCH dimmer than the ISS – this is a single frame and you can see it in the center top, heading down and slightly to the left.
Why not a combined file like with the ISS? When I tried to combine these images in StarStaX the satellite trail vanishes. It’s too dim and therefore too thin and each segment gets overwritten by the other layers where it’s dark.
But… I learned a new trick and I’m not afraid to use it three days in a row.
In a GIF format, you can see the unknown satellite moving down toward the horizon, before it too goes into darkness.
The fact that it went into darkness at about the same distance to the east of us means that it was probably at a similar height to the ISS. If it were higher, it would have stayed in sunlight longer – lower and it would have gone dark sooner. Beyond that, I have no idea what it was.
Keep looking up. You never know what you might see!