After a few mostly cloudy days, I’ve finally got a clear night for some Astrophotography.

But not just any Astrophotography; it just happened that on the night of April 8 the International Space Station (ISS) passed over the Moon not too far away from my home, at a distance of about 40 kilometers.

Together with my wife I drove towards the small town of Daia in the Giurgiu county. We had the precise time of the passing from the Calsky website, so we didn’t hurry too much, since there was plenty of time left. After installing our gear, we’ve looked for a few moments at the Moon at various magnifications and wondered in which of the craters we’ll catch the ISS silhouette.

And eventually the moment arrived: the ISS was rapidly rising from the South-West.

Just a few seconds before it passed over the Moon, we’ve started shooting at around 3fps. Immediately after the ultra-fast pass (~0,6 seconds!), we’ve unmounted our cameras from the instruments and looked at the images to see what we have captured.

My three frames capturing the ISS, with just a bit of processing (some saturation enhancement to reveal a bit of the Moon colors, and some increased brightness and gamma also):

IMG_6544 p

IMG_6545 p

IMG_6546 p

The above frames were acquired with the TS APO 115mm F/7 Refractor working at F/14 with the aid of a 2x TeleVue Powermate. The camera was my trusty Canon 550D working at ISO400 and 1/800s.

And a small animation:

ISS over Moon animation

The above animation was selected as April 9th 2014 LPOD.

The above three frames were processed into a single final image:

ISS over the Moon

If you still didn’t see the second position of the ISS it’s because I’ve captured it near the southern limb of crater Deslandres (the big lava-flooded crater below the dark straight line near the terminator, which is actually called Rupes Recta or the “Straight Wall” in English):

Bright object

My wife also captured the ISS in three frames using her’s 550D mounted on a SW 90mm Maksutov telescope:

ISS and Moon EliT

Despite the smaller aperture of her scope, the first frame capturing the ISS (lower right ISS position) shows some better structural details compared to my images. She was placed only a couple of meters away from me, so the only reasonable conclusion is that she had a very brief moment of good seeing just a fraction of a second after I’ve shot my first ISS frame. This is just how fast the atmospheric conditions can change.

After a few more minutes I’ve decided to shoot again the Moon, this time to acquire frames for a stack, in order to present the phase of the Moon and it’s colors.

The image below is a stack of 77 frames with the same setup:

Color Moon April 8, 2014

And a Full HD wallpaper version:

Color Moon April 8, 2014_wallpaperl

The images above were also mentioned on the first page of SpaceWeather.

I can’t wait for the next ISS transit to happen…

I just wonder if the weather will cooperate…


(April 9, 2014)

6 Replies to “ISS transiting the Moon”

    1. We thank you Vlad for looking at the images. We’ll keep shooting up towards the BIG Universe, but also down to the SMALL Universe.

  1. I’m from Brazil and saw your work in Spaceweather and was surprised with the sharpness and the colour of this moon shots! Wonderful!
    Do you have any photo with this quality of the fullmoon ?
    Best Regards.

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