ISS | Mars | Digital Clocks

I awoke at 5:34am and remembered an email from a few days before. It said the space station was to pass over my region starting at 5:38. When I got to the front window, it was high overhead moving toward the eastern horizon.

Looking to the southeast I found Mars in Scorpius. It had moved from its position the morning before. Here depicted by The Planetarium of Dominic Ford. Being only 13˚ F this morning, I opted not to go outside for my own photograph.

It was a good start to the day. Morning twilight was not evident yet. I went to the kitchen to look at the digital clock on the stove. No lights were on in the house yet. My eyes glanced right then left. I noticed the time numbers on the clock looked like a series of individual images across my view when I glanced right or left. Could I capture that with a camera?

I held my phone up with the camera turned on. It focused on the numbers. I shook the phone vigorously and pressed the shutter.

I moved in closer for two more shots. Image data later said the exposures were 1/15 sec each. My eyes were not deceiving me earlier. There were separate images as the time flashed on the clock.

I put down the phone and got my digital camera. I set the exposure for 0.5 sec, a delay timer for 10 sec, and gave the camera vigorous movement for two exposures. Very cool. And, all this before I had coffee.


11 thoughts on “ISS | Mars | Digital Clocks

  1. That IS cool. And I’m enjoying your efforts before I’ve had my coffee, so I’m with you in spirit. Not at 5 am, however. Just a tad later. 🙂

    • Yes they do. It is fascinating to see. But, I understand the complications they are causing for the researchers who are imaging the sky. SpaceX said they darkened one of the 60 to see if that would help reduce reflectivity.

  2. I love this! I often set a slow shutter speed and then drag my camera around when I am somewhere with dramatic city lights or Christmas lights, but I never thought to do it with ordinary household lighted objects. Your results are very cool.
    Also, I have never thought to try any photography at all before coffee.🙂

  3. It’s great you could do some indoor astronomy! I hear the Pleiades are nice to see when looking overhead in a skylight window.
    I’ve noticed a similar effect when looking at the taillights of a car in front of me. If I move my eyes rapidly back or forth, I see a kind of dash/space/dash/space/dash effect. There are gaps, as if the light in turning on and off at a high rate. This only happens if the car has LED lights, not with incandescent lights. I assume the on/off is faster than the amount of time light is retained on the retina, so it only shows up when I move my eyes rapidly?

    • My skylight is kind of dirty. I dreamed of putting a 3 ft plexiglass dome in the roof. Probably will never happen.

      You are correct about the car lights and semi truck lights. Many LEDs used these days.

  4. Very interesting, Jim. I guess if you count the number of intervals and divide it into the total exposure time you will arrive at the approximate strobe frequency of the LEDs.

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