David Blanchard
Image taken:
May. 30, 2011
Flagstaff, Arizona
A double flyby of the ISS leading the STS-134 Endeavour over northern Arizona early this morning resulted in this spectacular image. As the two spacecraft moved out of Earth's shadow I noted a fuzzy "cloud" below the craft. It wasn't long before I recognized that Endeavour was venting its tanks creating an ice cloud in space that was moving along with the two craft.

Endeavour had just undocked a few hours earlier and was following very closely behind the ISS. It had not yet modified its orbit substantially so that it's track nearly matched ISS and it is difficult to distinguish the two tracks in this image.

This is a composite of eight images of 15 seconds duration. There is a small gap between each image as the camera shutter briefly closed.

Also visible in this image in the upper right is the faint track of another earth orbiting satellite -- most likely COSMOS 2228.

The second image is a single frame cropped more closely in which it is easier to distinguish the separate tracks of the ISS and STS-134.

Details: Nikon D700; ISO 3200; f/4; 16-35mm@16; 15s.

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