by James Kevin Ty & Nathaniel Custodio
Images by James Kevin Ty & Nathaniel Custodio

Last January 13, members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) went to various observing sites to observe the  International Space Station (ISS / Zarya) Solar Transit event that will occur that morning more or less around 8:30:38am PST (Philippine Standard Time)  . It was  visible only in some parts of NCR (National Capital Region).  ISS Solar and Lunar Transit here in the Philippines is quite rare  thus they didn't  waste the opportunity to try to observe and image it!  Among the observing site chosen by ALPers were at Astrocamp Observatory in SM Mall of Asia San Miguel by the Bay Park , Ateneo de Manila  grounds, Mandaluyong and  Taguig,

Observing Site A - Astrocamp Observatory in SM Mall of Asia San Miguel by the Bay Park  by James Kevin Ty

ALPers James Kevin Ty, Armando Lee and Bobby Pejvak went to AstroCamp Observatory in SM Mall of Asia San Miguel by the Bay Park t observe this event . James  brought along his trusty TV-101 refractor and Coronado PST-Ha on Vixen GP-DX equatorial mount while Armand brought his Celestron C90 and WO 66SD refractor on Orion Atlas mount. Bobby , on the other hand brought along his WO Zenithstar 70ED refractor and Skywatcher 102mm Maksutov on Takahashi Sky Patrol 2 mount.

ALPer Bobby Pejvak beside his camera / scope setup.

ALPer Armando Lee beside his camera / scope setup.

ALPer James Kevin Ty beside his camera / scope setup.

ALPers had a great time despite the cloudy skies

With a very cloudy sky that morning and the Sun not almost wanting to come out of the clouds, James had given up hope to imaging the transit in H-Alpha with the PST-Ha so he concentrated on the white light still imaging of the event using a Canon EOS 500D DSLR on his TV-101 refractor. Armand continue to monitor the event through his Canon EOS 350D DSLR on WO 66SD refractor for his still image and Canon EOS 60D with Celestron C90  for HD video imaging.  Bobby, on the other hand, uses Canon  5D Mark 2 on WO Zenithstar 70ED refractor for HD video imaging while his Canon EOS 50D was coupled on Skywatcher 102 Maksutov for still imaging.  But all three of them were  having a hard time focusing on the Sun because of the thick clouds but in the end , they were able to at least get a decent focus of the Sun before the said time.

At around 8:29am, James started to shoot continuously so that he can be  sure that he could get a good chance to capture the ISS even for 1 frame because in real time, even the most accurate predicted time might be off by a few seconds thus the reason for him to be hyper on this matter. At 8:30am time line, one could hear all of their Canon DSLRs shutters firing like mad as both 3 of them don't want  to miss getting at least a souvenir shot of the ISS on the Sun :) LOL

Just to be sure, James only ended his exposure at 8:31am :) Afterwards, he got SMS and Calls from  fellow ALPers observing this event at other locations reporting of being clouded out  except for ALPer Nathaniel Custodio who was also able to get 2 frames of ISS from his place in Taguig.  They then had their customary group shot taken before they packed up all their equipment and head home or to their office with a good feeling that they might have a chance of capturing this rare event!

As James check his own solar images, he  was able to capture 2 frames with the ISS on it. Likewise, ALPer Nathaniel Custodio who observe the event in his place in Taguig was also lucky to capture the ISS Solar Transit through passing clouds! But like Nathaniel, both their images were soft and grainy because of the slow shutter as well as high ISO used by them due to cloudy skies!!! Nevertheless, Nathaniel and James  are happy with the results of their  first ISS Solar Transit Imaging and hopefully, they will be able to get better images in future ISS transit events.

ISS enters the Sun from Southern Limb (7 o'Clock)

ISS crossing the Sun toward Northern Limb (11 o'Clock)

Cropped ISS Image by James Kevin Ty (blurriness caused by using slow shutter and high ISO due to cloudy sky)

ALP ISS Solar Transit Observing Team - AstroCamp Observatory

Observation Site B- Taguig City  by Nathaniel Custodio

Amidst the cloudiness, ALPer Nathaniel Custodio attempted to image the ISS solar transit this morning at his home in Taguig. He used his Canon 400D DSLR  at continuous shooting mode and mounted on his WO Megrez 90ED refractor. Out of the total 16 frames in 6 seconds, there were 2 frames that have a small smudge transiting the Sun at a very fast rate. After asking James to confirm his ISS capture, he got confirmation of a nice ISS capture !!!

ISS Transits the Sun

ALPer Nathaniel Custodio beside his setup.


Observation Site C - Ateneo de Manila / PAGASA Observatory / Mandaluyong City

ALPers Andrew Ian Chan in Ateneo de Manila and Christopher Louie Lu in Mandaluyong were not that lucky and were both clouded out totally without even seeing the Sun.

ALPers Bobby Pejvak  & Armando Lee also wasn't able to capture ISS on both their still and video :(

ALPer Alexander Loinaz, who observe at PAGASA Observatory was also clouded out totally.




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