Comet Neowise and ISS in one shot

Recently it happened that I caught Comet Neowise and ISS (International Space Station) in one shot – just by accident! The results, and how that happened I describe in this little article…

My telescope is currently located on La Palma and it is hard to get there due to COVID-19 at the moment … So when I heard about comet Neowise I got a little upset about the fact that I am not able to observe it with the telescope.

However, I still had my EOS6D camera here. I thought it would at least give me the chance to take a photo of it. So I took my bike and headed to the field nearby. Even without camera the Neowise comet was already visible below the Big Dipper constellation.

I took some photos – 15s per frame, ISO 6400, aperture 2.8. Actually my plan was to stack the frames to reduce the noise. And then, suddenly a bright spot appeared on the sky and flew right through the scene. At first I got angry but quickly realized that it could be the International Space Station (ISS). So I continued taking frames until the event was over. Later on I verified that it really was the ISS.

So it happened that I got a picture with Neowise and ISS just by accident… Something similar happened some years ago. When I was observing the sun through my telescope, a plane crossed. Below are some details about the picture:

Date2020/07/20, 23:29 CET
LocationFriedrichshafen / Germany
ObjectComet Neowise (C/2020 F3)
TelescopeSamyang 14mm lens
Barlow lensnone
Luminance6x 15s
Total exposure1m30m

Then I post processed the RAW frames with Raw Therapee and stacked the resulting RGB JPEG files with Deep Spy Stacker. Even if that tool probably is not primarily intended for this kind of job, it works quite well. Some time ago I wrote an article about this technique when I tried to stack several frames from the Milky Way.

Here again the stacked 15s image without any annotations.

Finally, I recorded another sequence without ISS and reduced the exposure time to 10 seconds. The result is quite similar but for sake of completeness I decided to add it here as well.

Please note that all the pictures shown here are just clipped out of the full frame to focus on the parts which are actually of interest.

Clear sky!

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