SPACE STATION MARATHON: The annual "space station marathon" is underway. For the next few weeks, the ISS will be almost continuously lit by summer sunlight when it passes over our planet's northern hemisphere. Sky watchers can see the space station gliding among the stars as often as four times every night. On June 3rd, Philip Smith photographed one of several flybys over his backyard in Manorville, New York:
"It was very cloudy during the flyby," he says,"but using my telescope I was able to catch the ISS through a small gap in the clouds almost directly overhead."
To the unaided eye the ISS looks like a bright slow-moving star, often rivaling Jupiter or Venus in luminosity. Small telescopes trained on the spaceship reveal its sprawling solar arrays, labs and living quarters, and retinue of docked supply ships. Smith sharpened these details by aligning and "stacking" multiple video frames. "In this screenshot, I share a part of how I processed this stacked image using RegiStax 5."