After putting up with a step stool as my observing chair for the first few months after re-entering the world of astronomy I decided that I needed something more height adjustable and portable. It always seemed that neither of the two steps was ever at the right height to make for comfortable observing and it always seemed that the stool was more of hindrance, overall.
There are loads of designs on the net for building your own observing chair and lots of suppliers that will sell you one but most of them either were designed such that they would be difficult to fit into my Mini Cooper or cost more than I was willing to pay. With a few I even had concerns about the chair portion staying where it was put.
It finally cleared up around here and I was already awake so I jumped into my shoes and put on a jacket to try to get some shots of the ISS as it went over. It promised to be a bright showing and as usual, the ISS didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately my tripod did. I chose to use my lighter tripod due to being able to grab it and run outside but some of the shots show that it was flexing at the beginning of the exposures, even with a 2s delay on the camera. At least two shots came out. Each is a 15s exposure at ISO 400.
The first is the station flying right through the Big Dipper.
with the second heading away past the neighbor’s house.
One of the members of TAS brought the following to the attention of the online forum members and I thought it was worth sharing for both a laugh and to point out things that do help to make a successful star party.
On the NASA web site they’ve got a full planning checklist for a star party aimed as planning an event around the passing overhead of the ISS. I’ve copied it after the jump just in case NASA decides to change the original page.