Fabulous! A pair of glorious images acquired today in the chilly pre-dawn morning by Marco Langbroek, Leiden, NL. The second image below is Marco's submission to our splendid ATV Orbital Photo Contest. Read below Marco's own description of today's excellent work - Ed.
After I was clouded out yesterday, finally clear skies this morning (some isolated clouds every now and then, see images). Alas, ATV-3 and ISS were no longer close together at this time (time difference between both objects about 3 minutes) so it was not possible any more to capture them together in one image.
I could observe ATV-3 on two passes: 3:12 UTC (5:12 CEST), which was not so favourable (shadow exit low in the east), and again in late twilight, 4:47 UTC (6:47 CEST), a maximum 30 degrees elevation pass through the south. In both cases, and easy naked eye object at about magnitude +2.
Here is one of two photographs from the 4:47 UT (6:47 CEST) morning twilight pass (Sun at -9 degrees under the horizon, sky already blue colour but stars visible).
The image is a 5-second exposure with a Canon EOS 60D +EF 2.0/35mm lens set at f2.5. ISO at 400.
It shows the ATV ascending in the SW on the border of Taurus (the bull) and Cetus (the whale), passing between the stars 94 and 95 Cetus. Image time (start): 04:46:17.55 UTC (30 Sep 2012).
PHOTO 2 (ATV Orbital Photo Contest entry)
Here is a second photograph from this morning's 4:47 UT (6:47 am local CEST) twilight pass.
When this image was taken, the Sun was 9 degrees under the horizon, the sky already turning bright blue but brighter stars were still visible. I had walked down 50 yards to the city moat, where I have a better view low south. As she frequently does during my observations, Pippi our cat accompanied me.
The image shows ATV-3 passing due south at an elevation of only 27 degrees, near the southern border of Orion. The bright star to the upper right of the trail is Rigel (beta Orionis), and near the top of the image is the Orion nebula, which together with the stars above and below it, forms the 'sword' of Orion. The streaks in the image are moving clouds.
ATV-3 was easily visible to the naked eye during this pass, being about magnitude +2 and moving quite fast.
Leiden had been completely clouded out the previous morning (29 Sept) and I feared I would get no view of the ATV at all before deorbit, so I was very happy that it was clear this time. ATV-3 and the ISS were however no longer close together, passing with a time difference of about 3 minutes.
After a "hello!" when I first saw it pass through the Leiden skies on March 24th only 22 minutes after launch, this was my time to say "goodbye!" to ATV-3. Or maybe not, for I am hoping that tomorrow morning is clear as well!
The image is a 5 second exposure with a Canon EOS 60D + EF 2.0/35mm lens set at f2.5. ISO at 400 and camera on a fixed tripod. Image time (start): 04:47:22.55 UTC (30 Sep 2012).
Marco also acquired a movie during the night - Ed.
Marco Langbroek (Leiden, NL) observed ATV-3 on two passes in the morning of 30 Sep 2012: 3:12 UTC (5:12 CEST), which was not so favourable (shadow exit low in the east), and again in late twilight, 4:47 UTC (6:47 CEST), a maximum 30 degrees elevation pass through the south. In both cases, and easy naked eye object at about magnitude +2. This movie was made during the 3:12 UTC pass with a WATEC 902H low-light-level surveillance camera and 1.2/25mm lens. Video Credit/Copyright (C) 2012 M. Langbroek. Used by permission.