Greg McKay


I recently purchased a Lunt 80mm Ha scope and have been enjoying viewing the Sun as of late. With the Sun approaching solar minimum the surface is pretty quite in normal white light.  As of this writing on July 4th we've had 11 days of no sunspots visible on the surface. But when viewed in H-Alpha light the sun shows a great deal of detail with small prominence's popping up on the surface and along the edge.

Another exciting thing to do when viewing the Sun is to watch for transit's of the International Space Station. Finding out when they are going to happen is easy with a website like Simply type in your location or select it on the map, set a time frame to search and the max distance you are willing to travel to see it and that's all it takes. It will calculate when and where you need to be for the transit.  A very, very accurate clock down to the second is useful if you are watching the event visually because it happens in the blink of an eye, usually no more than 1.4 seconds. I use a portable short-wave radio that is able to pick up the atomic clock in Boulder, CO for perfect timing. Since I'm recording for up to 15 seconds before and after the transit timing is not as important.

Of course a Ha scope is not necessary to view or image an ISS transit. A regular white-light solar filtered telescope will work just as well.  As always, viewing the Sun requires proper filtering and eye protection. NEVER point your un-filtered telescope or camera at the Sun.

So here's a composite photo that shows the entire transit as it was captured. The photo is composed of 17 layers. The clean surface image that shows the granulation and filaments on the surface is 1 frame. Another frame is for the much fainter prominences along the edge and then the 14 individual frames that captured the ISS. All combined and processed in PhotoShopCC.

ISS Solar transit 07-03-16

And here's a link to a video I processed that shows the transit in real time and also slo-mo'd.

ISS Solar transit 07-03-16


If you have any questions about the process or technique's used to create this image feel free to leave a comment below and I'll answer as I can.

Greg McKay
LVAS President, 2016-17


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    About Me

    I've been passionate about the hobby of astronomy since i was around 11 years old and am currently the president of the Las Vegas Astronomical Society. I've owned several telescopes over the years but my current arsenal includes a Meade 12" LX200GPS SCT, Lunt 80mm Ha refractor, 5" Celestron Comet Catcher and an Edmund AstroScan. My passion at the moment is the Ha scope as it's the newest addition to my collection.


    Location:Henderson, NV
    United States of America (the)