Ships Passing in the Night

It was 6:30 pm on 24 Jan 2018. The International Space Station was due to pass directly over our part of Iowa from WSW to NE. It was 3˚F outside with more than a foot of snow on the ground. Instead of going outside, I set the iPad in the bedroom window, closed the door, and recorded the pass for 6 minutes. While I watched the spaceship cruise above the trees at 5 mi/sec, an airship also cruised over at about 0.2 mi/sec. The stars silently observed from their perches. I stayed warm.

NightCap Camera | iPad2 | ISO=1536 | 356 sec | Click to embiggen


23 thoughts on “Ships Passing in the Night

  1. Good capture. Knowing the precise speed of each ‘flying machine’ and the distance it covered in your 6 minute exposure photograph (you may have to enlarge your photo on your computer screen) are you able to determine their distance from earth.

    • Yes. You are correct. The airplane blinking lights have a timed sequence. That time multiplied by the speed of the plane gives the distance covered between each blink. The ISS has no blinking lights I can detect. That poses a challenge. Good question.

      • We may have to use additional data from your post of Aug. 25, 2018 when you captured ISS transiting the sun. 😀
        I always find your posts fascinating. Take care.

  2. It almost appears as if the space station is closer than the aircraft. Nice work. I’m certain you anticipated this photo when you bought your house. 🙂

    • Thank you. I noticed the blinking plane lights as I watched ISS pass. It didn’t occur to me that they crossed paths.

      Yes, the winter is getting old now. We are due to get several more inches of snow tonight and Sunday. The week ahead will stay cold.

        • Sigh. We are in the midst of a kitchen remodel. Not sure why we always do these things in the winter. I’ve got windows open to combat fumes from the floor varnish that was put on yesterday, and trying to be patient, waiting for the guys to come back and bring our stove back inside. Hoping the tarp is really protecting it from the freezing rain that is falling. 😦
          But last night I saw a beautiful big fat red moon!

        • Your kitchen must be rather cold now. I hope you can close the windows soon. The tarp is likely doing a good job. Check for mice, tho. They might smell food and explore inside it.

          It was too cloudy here to see the moon. It was big and bright the few nights before. We got a little over 2″ of snow. No rain or freezing rain.

        • I’m glad you didn’t get the freezing rain. Many of my friends have also fallen the past few days.
          The smell is nearly gone from the kitchen, and I’ve conquered the dust in there. The stove is back in, none the worse for wear thanks to the tarp. No mice, thank goodness. I hadn’t thought of that but it is a brand new stove so not a lot of cooking in it yet. Nearly done, with both the renovation and the winter! (I hope)

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