ISS transits the moon from Houston

From: MALEY, PAUL D. (JSC-DO511) (USA) (
Date: Wed Sep 04 2002 - 07:41:57 EDT

  • Next message: MALEY, PAUL D. (JSC-DO511) (USA): "Optical Instrument comparison note"

    On August 31 I identified a possible lunar transit in the Houston area and
    with the help of Kevin Fetter who was kind enough to generate several ground
    tracks, I used a GPS receiver to position myself close to the projected
    center on September 3 at 10h18mUT. The path crossed part of downtown Houston
    and I found myself at the Veterans Administration Hospital building 20
    minutes before the event. Lynn and I found a parking lot and set up my
    Celestron 8 with Watec video camera trained on the dark side of the crescent
    moon. At 10h16m a police unit, who noticed the equipment set up under a
    lighted area, stopped me and proceeded to ask for identification and whether
    we had permission to use a telescope on federal property. I was able to
    convince her that we were there under legitimate SEESAT purposes and that if
    she waited just a moment she would see ISS transit the moon. Within 30
    seconds we picked up the ISS making its way toward the ESE horizon. The
    moon, at an elevation of 27 degrees was in crescent phase and, with
    thunderstorms below it generating clouds, we easily saw the 2nd magnitude
    object speed across the dark side, cross the terminator and the sunlit side.
    [After further discussions we were not considered a risk to VA property and
    were let go.]
    I have posted a 2 second .AVI file of the brief transit to my web site. If
    any reader knows how I can get a more defined image that might show
    structure, I would appreciate a reply.
     The web address for the 0.5MB file that can be viewed online is:,  then click on the link SATELLITE CROSSES
    THE MOON. The account and link is at the bottom of the page. Not being
    web-smart, we loaded it in .AVI form and I am able to play it using Windows
    Media Player. The software I use doesn't allow MPEG. I also have a separate
    camcorder view which shows the whole moon and the ISS crossing it but will
    perhaps post stills from that later.
    Paul D. Maley
    Houston, Texas 77058 USA
    Tel. 281.244.0208; Fax. 281.244.1140
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