It is easy to find out when the space station is passing overhead, and you may have run outside to see the blip of light moving at five miles per second. It turns out that some people make a hobby out of taking its picture, and if you have a pretty beefy telescope you can get some good shots. [Scott], on the other hand, wanted to take a handheld consumer-grade camera and try some pictures. His results show up in the video below.
If you look at the second video from [Thierry], you’ll see [Scott’s] videos are a far cry from state of the art. However, the [Thierry] photos essentially use a special telescope made to track the station very precisely. [Scott] is using a handheld, consumer-grade Nikon P1000.
Granted, the P1000 has a pretty heavy-duty zoom lens with a focal length of 3,000. So don’t expect to get even close to these pictures using grandma’s old Brownie. Still, it is impressive what he was able to do, particularly after applying a moving window to the station’s image to counteract what [Scott] calls “my old man hands.”
The [Thierry] images are amazing if you haven’t seen them. It is reportedly the only image of an astronaut taken from an amateur telescope. You can see some images of them at the start of [Scott’s] video. Of course, a handheld camera won’t be a likely contender for best picture compared to those big scopes with their impressive tripods.
Even with the Nikon, [Scott] did have to hack the camera a bit. Unless, of course, you happen to already have a range finder telescope mounted to your camera’s hot shoe.