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Amateur Astronomer Grabs Amazing ISS Picture

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  • They should turn off those stadium lights

    • It must be a reflection of the sun.
  • WOW!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by TinBromide (921574) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @10:05PM (#27337795)
    IT DOES EXIST!!

    Does it mean that the moon landing happened too?
  • by Wiener (36657) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @10:11PM (#27337813)
    Ralf, quite simply, takes amazing photos. From what I understand, these are manually tracked snapshots.

    He has a number of photos posted at Cloudy Nights [cloudynights.com] in the "Planetary and Solar System Observing" forum.

    • Maybe I've been living in a barrel, but I believe he's come up with a cool new verb as well:

      "embiggen". As in "click to embiggen". Nice, I'll use that... ;-)
      • Huh. Feel free to mod me -1 ignoramus or whatever. Just discovered I have indeed been living in a barrel, since I don't follow the Simpsons. :-)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Zugok (17194)

        This time it was not a cromulent word to use.

  • by The Hooloovoo (78790) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @10:11PM (#27337815)

    He basically used a method reminiscent of a technique used by amateur astronomers to take pictures of planets and asteroids: take a lot of frames using a cheap webcam [wildimaging.co.uk] and stack them together, weeding out the bad ones as you go.

    The principle behind it is pretty simple. When it comes to seeing nearby planets (Pluto and friends are obviously exceptions), telescopes are limited less by magnification and more by atmospheric distortion. What's not clear from the article is if this is a single frame grab (which is pretty cool but not an incredible technical feat) or if he managed to track it precisely enough to stack a few frames.

    • by Skapare (16644) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @10:33PM (#27337941) Homepage

      Stacking frames does not require precision tracking. You only need to track it well enough to keep it in the frame. And in some cases partially out of the frame still has limited usefulness. The software correlates the positions based on what is in the picture. If there's enough of a pattern to make the alignment (at sub-pixel resolution), then it's easy. If it's fuzzy, you might have to do the alignment manually.

      • by Fëanáro (130986)

        since the angular speed and direction of the ISS an other orbital objects is constant and known, do you even need fancy alignment correlation?

        If you have precise timing for your shots, would it suffice to align the first and last picture, and the alignment of the rest can be infered from them?

    • by david.given (6740) <dg AT cowlark DOT com> on Thursday March 26, 2009 @12:07AM (#27338339) Homepage Journal

      ...take a lot of frames using a cheap webcam [wildimaging.co.uk] and stack them together, weeding out the bad ones as you go.

      You might be interested to have a look at some software called ALE [dyndns.org], which can be used to do this more or less automatically; you give it a sequence of frames and it'll synthesize a superresolution image combing data from every frame.

      (You can also use it to generate panoramic images from video pans --- it automatically locates, rotates and transforms every frame correctly, figuring everything out for itself!)

      The only problem with it is that it's really slow, so you'll probably want as big a computer as you can humanly manage.

      One day I should try taking some simple digital camera footage of the moon and running it through ALE just to see what happens...

  • obligatory (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @10:12PM (#27337823)

    Thats no moon,it IS a space station give the man some geek points!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Spinalcold (955025)
      Honest to the Force, my friend's daughter was taught by her mom to decern the Space Station from the Moon, "that's no moon, thats a space station". So when she went away, her daughter (3 years old) grabbed her dad, pulled him to the bedroom and pointed at the space station, and said "No Moon, Space Station."

      Give geek points to the 3 year old, she deserves them!
    • *family joe*

      ha!
  • On a clear night... (Score:3, Informative)

    by pallmall1 (882819) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @10:22PM (#27337865)
    ...you can see forever.
  • Another way to view (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skapare (16644) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @10:25PM (#27337883) Homepage

    You can view things up in orbit this way [astrosurf.com] too. Just don't do it without the proper filtering protection.

  • The blurring has almost hidden them, but put the image through a gaussian filter, and all is revealed.

    Plus you can see the tiles missing from the space shuttle

    • by MeanMF (631837) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @10:45PM (#27338015) Homepage
      If you run it through the image processing software they use on 24, you can actually make out the license plate number too.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @11:52PM (#27338271)

        Any sign of that bat?

      • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @03:55AM (#27339169)

        If you run it through the image processing software they use on 24, you can actually make out the license plate number too.

        Even though its on the other side, facing away from us.

        They can lift the print of the guy who screwed it on too.

        But the real feat is that they can make out the license plate of the car across the street of a suspected terrorist by enhancing the reflection on one of the space stations windows, on a cloudy day.

        I used to enjoy TV. Its almost sad. I can watch a rerun of something like "Columbo" and I find fewer plot holes and more credible police work, more credible set designs, more credible ... everything, than I do on CSI. Sure in Columbo the villain was usually improbably or even implausibly ratting himself out... but compared to the routine violation the current limits of technology, and in many cases the known limits of even theoretical sciencce we are subjected to in the CSI's... Columbo is actually the more beleivable... by far.

      • by cbuskirk (99904)

        If you run it through the image processing software they use on 24, you can actually make out the license plate number too.

        As 24 taught us, all you gotta do to enhance/scan/hack thru any computer problem is open another socket.

      • by Ihlosi (895663)

        If you run it through the image processing software they use on 24, you can actually make out the license plate number too.

        Quick! Someone send these guys a speeding ticket!

    • by Legion303 (97901)

      I can see the wires too, holding it up. ISS is definitely a hoax, like the moon landings (which were actually filmed on a stage on Venus).

      Also, a better title for this story might be "Hobbyist does something hobbyists do every single day, but we're short on news today here at Slashdot."

      • I find this a lot more interesting than some article about RIAA this or that. We don't all have the read the same stuff.
  • by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @11:19PM (#27338159)
    I mean I wouldn't be surprised if he was getting pretty close to that limit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rayleigh_criterion#Explanation [wikipedia.org] To make that short I kind of remember this from my physics class that ultimately the limit on being able to differentiate between 2 objects depends on the size of your main mirror/lens and the wavelength of light you use. (IE a bigger main mirror or shorter wave length of light means you can differentiate between closer and closer objects.) If I remember correctly I did the math and found out that you'd need a mirror about 250 meters across to resolve the landing site on the moon from an earth based telescope. (But I can't remember if that resolution was 1 meter or 30.)
  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com.nyud.net/badastronomy/2009/03/25/shuttle-and-station-imaged-from-the-ground/ [nyud.net]

    Funny how nyud.net has disappeared from /. in the last few years. I kinda miss the reliability. It seems like twice a day some poor website is blasted half way around the world because of /., why not use nyud.net some more?
    • by paganizer (566360)

      I hadn't noticed, but yeah, where is the love for nyud?
      It's always the first thing I try to pull up a non-loading site; I've also used it as a form of cheap file mirroring.

  • No Subject (Score:5, Informative)

    by Orphaze (243436) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @11:56PM (#27338285) Homepage

    It's certainly a good image, but not the best. This image [nasa.gov] of Ralf's, for instance, is noticeably more clear. He has many more amazing images though on his site here [asahikawa-med.ac.jp].

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      It's certainly a good image, but not the best. This image [nasa.gov] of Ralf's, for instance, is noticeably more clear. He has many more amazing images though on his site here [asahikawa-med.ac.jp].

      Holy shit. There's a picture of his on that site which actually managed to capture an astronaut on a spacewalk [asahikawa-med.ac.jp]. Talk about impressive.

      Thanks for the link, there's a whole lot of very interesting shots there.

  • I am trying to get a pic of this Vandeberghâ(TM)s 25 cm Newtonian telescope. I wanted to get an idea of the size of a telescope you would have to use to get his kind of picture. Google is of no avail. Help?
  • to photograph the earth from the ISS.
  • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @04:24AM (#27339303) Homepage

    I can't believe the government are allowing people to take these sorts of images. This is just a gift to the terrorists, they'll be able to see exactly which parts of the space station to target and may even be able to bring the whole thing down on a major population centre.

    Unbelievable !

    • by PhxBlue (562201)

      I know you got modded funny, but you should have gotten some "insightful" points as well -- because this is how some military folks actually think.

      An anecdote: Our office is in charge of creating a display for a local airport. The plan was to showcase some of the satellites we control and some information about what they do. A couple of weeks into working on things, someone from higher headquarters said they were concerned about including information on how high the satellites are above the Earth.

      Yes --

  • by StormReaver (59959) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @09:48AM (#27341281)

    This is obviously a fake. If you look closely, you can see the wires holding up the space station! The only rational conclusion is that the space station was filmed in front of a live studio audience under strict NDA. Quick! Somebody notify Fox News! They'll do one of their award winning exposes. They'll probably even be able to get Geraldo to unmask the perpetrators!

  • Darn (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Locke2005 (849178)
    Now we'll have to listen to Sarah Palin claiming "I can see the Space Station from my house!"

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

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