ISS & Iridium Flare
Whilst browsing through the Google Play Store on my phone a few weeks ago I discovered a handy little app called ISS Detector. As its name suggests, it is an app that takes your GPS location, and based on data from various sources determines when the International Space Station is predicted to be visible. It also provides information on Iridium satellite flare visibility, and with paid add-ons many other objects. It can be configured to provide an alarm in the lead up, and using the GPS position and the accelerometers in your phone it can also provide you with a rough idea of where to look. First up, here’s a couple of screenshots from the app.
Here’s the main screen with a list of upcoming events. At this point it’s a while until the next ISS pass, but you get the idea. I like that it includes a predicted magnitude, although I have no way to check how accurate it is. There is a paid option that removes the adds.
Upon tapping on one of the entries, you get this screen. By turning your phone until the yellow dot in the compass circle is closest to the top, and then inclining your phone until the yellow dot on the left is in the grey circle, you can work out roughly where the event will be. This seems pretty accurate with my Xperia Z, but I guess different phones will be different.
Anyway, an app like this seems pretty useful, not only if you want to actually see these events with your own eyes. It’s incredibly useful for knowing where you need to point your camera….
The International Space Station passing over. Combination of several exposures. Not bad for a first attempt, but I have to practice more.
Iridium Flare, shot from the school oval over the road from our place. Turned out better than I expected, although I still have a lot to learn for astrophotography. There’s another fairly bright iridium flare coming up in a couple of days, so I’m thinking of trying to shoot it on my Pentax 645N on Provia 100F, as well as on my digital with a longer lens to show it in more detail.
I get the impression that I’ll be buying some of the upgrade options for this app..