Using a little bit of maths and a lot of patience, anyone can watch the International Space Station go flying past the Moon. And if you've got a DSLR and a telescope handy, you can save that moment in a stunning photo.
Amateur photographer Dylan O'Donnell captured the image above of the ISS transiting the moon on June 30th. Given the fraction-of-a-second window to get the image, preparation is everything:
The CalSky website sends me alerts for potential fly overs for which I've been waiting a long time — about 12 months. I got one this week and this was adjusted by 15 seconds by the time of the "occultation".
If you think that it might be a case of sitting there with your camera and a clock, with one hand on the shutter release, you'd be absolutely correct! The ISS only passed over the moon for 0.33 seconds as it shoots by quite quickly. Knowing the second it would pass I fired a "burst" mode of exposures then crossed my fingers and hoped it would show up in review — and it did!
O'Donnell also took photos at different exposures of the moon either side of the ISS pass, and stitched those images together to expose the lunar surface in quite such intimate detail. You can read about the process on his blog.