ISS on a Galactic Path

International Space Station and Milky Way from the bugyal at the Devasthal Observatory Campus

Milky Way Devasthal
ISS on a Galactic Path

When you search specifically for “ARIES Guest House’ in Google Maps satellite view, you get a picture of hills mostly green covered with trees all over. Once you locate the ARIES Guest House, some of the hillside towards the West are the terraced fields, and towards the South, about a kilometre is India’s largest optical telescope – The Devasthal Optical Telescope.

There is a small piece of clearing on the East side of the road. Its a charming Bugyal (meadow), where I have spent many a astrophotography nights since so many years. The picture that accompanies the search for ‘ARIES Guest House’ shows that small bugyal nicely. Its a grassy land, the picture also has several cows grazing on the grassy bugyal. In the maps you would get an impression of a very small area, but its actually quite big. I am quite attracted to this particular meadow.

Earlier this year, on 14th March I spent a night with various astrophotography equipment. I had an Atlas EQ6 mount, couple of tripods & cameras working through the night and also a tent to rest a while. Its a very convenient place for astrophotography, dark, you can ask for all lights to be switched off and get electricity to run your entire equipment. After-all its an observatory location. The meadow clearing is surrounded by tall tree on all sides. The trees cover quite a bit of the sky, but provide a nice landscape all around.

Towards the morning I had started a time lapse to capture the dawn transition. The camera was mounted on the Atlas Mount and was following the sky precisely on the equatorial mount. The camera caught the passing of the International Space Station during the sequence. Surprisingly the path of the ISS was along the Galactic Equator, mimicking a grid line of the galactic coordinates. In the middle of the path the ISS reflects sunlight brightly causing a prominent flare which my camera captured nicely.

I am happy to get to processing this particular set of image after 6 months.

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