I received an email notice earlier in the week from CalSky about the upcoming visible passes of the International Space Station for my location. Contact me or comment below if you would like to set up your own email notices. Normally, the passes are during the evening after sunset or in the morning before sunrise. This week’s notice included a special event. The ISS was going to pass in front of the Sun along a 5 mile wide path across this part of Iowa. The centerline was to be very near me. It was to occur Saturday August 17 at 5:33:26 CDT. I contacted a couple of friends and told them about it. One of them who lived nearby agreed to meet me at the local school yard.
Bob and I met and quickly set up my video camera on the tripod. I had started a countdown timer on my iPod for 20 minutes before the transit was to occur. The ISS is going 5 miles/sec. It would only take 1.6 sec to transit the disk of the Sun. I planned to record a minute before and after just to be safe. I put the iPod on the back of the car and watched the time while we got the camera aimed. There was a solar viewing filter on the camera so it would be safe for the electronics. The lone cloud got out of the way with a minute to spare. I started recording.
The video has been trimmed to last about 4 sec. You need to view it in full screen mode. Click the little box in the lower right corner of the video window. Unlike the clear image above of another ISS transit taken through a high quality telescope, my video is not as clear and sharp. At the 2 sec time, you should see a faint fuzzy object enter the disk of the Sun at the 7:30 position if you imagine the disk as a clock face. It moves toward the 1:30 position. The video has been slowed down. The actual transit time was only 1.6 sec. Repeat as needed.
Bob and I packed my tripod and camera in the back seat of the car as we talked about a couple of other things. I said goodbye and drove away. Later in the evening a car pulled into our driveway. A man came to the door I had never seen before. He smiled and asked “Is this your iPod?” I had left it on the back of the car. It fell off in the parking lot where he found it. He found my name in it and looked me up to return it. What a nice thing to do. I thanked him profusely.