Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Not According to Plan!

Post nearly 550 entries and the blog routine should always fall into place, right?  Mostly I've been lucky rather than skilled, but the luck didn't hold tonight...  Let me tell you the plan..

What to post is always sitting on the back of my mind, and tonight was no different.  While getting dinner ready for the better half (she's working tonight, so dinner is my job), I happened to look at http://www.heavens-above.com/ and saw that the International Space Station (ISS) was making a pass low in the NE this evening at 1900 - see the plot at right from the website.  From Tucson, it would cross the handle of the Big Dipper near Epsilon Ursa Majoris at an elevation of about 11 degrees.   A background?  Hmm - with an appearance low in the north, how about a profile of the Catalinas, and Finger Rock a few miles to the north?!  Well, it was 1800 at the time, the ISS was already somewhere over the South Atlantic and headed this way! 

Melinda left for work at 1830 and I was right behind her headed north. First up Campbell, then over on Skyline looking for a place to shoot.  But then I realized that the 11 degree elevation might not clear the mountains!  Instead of heading up Alvernon to the edge of development as planned, I stayed on Skyline, setting up along the road in the gravel with a couple minutes to spare.  A quick focus, test exposure, set ISO to 200 and F-stop to 3.5 to allow a 30 second exposure.  I was hoping to catch it just over Finger rock, but the time came and no ISS!  Then it appeared in the opening to the right of Finger Rock - it was too low!  I clicked regardless,  and caught it grazing over Mount Kimball before continuing onward and entering the earth's shadow a few seconds later.

Well, not what I imagined for a post, but I'll take it for now, and try for a better pass another time...

1 comment:

David A. Harvey said...

Too funny - nice capture. Yeah - always check your foreground elevation before making travel plans. :-)