It has been a busy year of research aboard the International Space Station. In November, we celebrated the 20th year of continuous human presence aboard the space station, which so far has hosted 242 people and more than 3,000 science experiments. During the past year, research has ranged from growing radishes in microgravity to capturing 360-degree footage of life aboard station to monitoring our planet. This research benefits people on Earth while helping prepare us to explore farther into space.
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Venus has risen high in the evening sky and is a very bright beautiful sight. During the evenings of April 1 – 5, it passed through the star cluster Pleiades. This short video made with desktop software shows the passage over the course of those nights.
Skies were clear enough for me to get an image on the 1st and the 4th. I did a copy-paste to place Venus in one frame for both dates. At the bottom of the image is the April 1st location. It is surrounded by a haze due to some thin cloud cover.
Exposure was a challenge since Venus was so bright compared to the Pleiades. I zoomed all the way in on Venus and exposed for it alone. That revealed the shape much like that of a waxing or waning moon. The sun’s position is to the lower right of Venus in this frame.
One additional event of interest was on the evening of April 5th. The space station passed overhead and came very close to occulting the star Pollux in the constellation Gemini. High thin clouds made it hard to see the stars. Exposure adjustments of the image helped bring them out.
Taken with NightCap. ISS mode, 90.79 second exposure
I enjoy trying to capture passes of the Space Station over my location. Sometimes it passes in front of the Sun. That happened today at 2:20:30 local time. Here is how the Sun looked before passage. Notice the two sunspots at the right. It is in a period of quiet sunspot activity now.
There are two videos of the transit of the ISS. This first one is in real time. At about the 4 second mark, it crosses across the lower left part of the Sun. Don’t blink or you will miss it. The second video is slowed to 10% real time. The actual speed of ISS is about 5 mi/sec (8 km/sec).
It will help to adjust the quality to 1090 or 720 using the gear icon down by the YouTube label.