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


13 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. 🙂

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