ISS Damaged Radiator Panel
Taken by Alessandro Bianconi / Ralf Vandebergh on October 24, 2018 @ Italy/Netherlands
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This ISS image is the result of an amateur cooperation experiment between Alessandro and me. What do you get if you combine the master imaging qualities and the perfect operating semi-automatic tracking equipment of Italian astrophotographer Alessandro Bianconi with the satellite imaging and image processing experience I gathered in more then a decade.

As a manual satellite tracker, you have to deal with low signal-to-noise ratio images as the manual technique doesn’t allow you to obtain a lot of frames, although the amount of frames obtained using automatic or semi-automatic tracking is still not as richly as is used in planetary imaging. This is due to perspectival changes. But this shortcoming in frame quantity was the trigger to develop personal noise-reduction and resampling techniques, which enabled me to press the maximum out of the manual results.

When I discovered Alessandro’s excellent high signal-to-noise ratio ISS images, the idea developed what would come out of the images if they are combined to my processing techniques which were initiallly developed for low signal-to-noise images.

Remarkable detail in the image and visible as a pimple is the damaged panel in the starboard S1 radiator which is according to estimates now around 10 years present. The damage was first discovered in Soyuz imagery in September 2008. Although there are suspicions about the cause of the damage, the real cause is not yet clarified.

Although I have captured a sign of the radiator damage earlier in telescopic ISS images throughout the years, it was mainly the dark shadow of the damage on the white background. But I never succeeded to photograph the damage itself as clearly as visible in Alessandro’s image. The image was taken during a favorable 89 degrees pass on October 16, 2017 using a C14 HD edge reflector on a 10 Micron CM2000QCI mount and a 2,9 micron pixel Asi 290MM camera through an Astrodon R filter. Animation of the transit: https://vimeo.com/238656000
Comments
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Thank you both for your efforts. The results are amazing!
Posted by kb9uwu 2018-10-24 08:42:32
Incredible ! I have no word to describe your picture ! Congratulations
Posted by pipones 2018-10-24 08:55:27
Outstanding- a tremendous result. Thanks for posting.
Posted by NCarlson9721 2018-10-24 12:35:36
Quite impressive!
Posted by JoeStieber 2018-10-25 15:28:44
nothing like spending $15,000 on a telescope + mount and only $300.00 on the camera........
Posted by amplelight 2018-10-25 23:08:49
46 thumbs up
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