Artemis I: Orion spacecraft image and video: 8 Dec. 2022

We tracked the Artemis I – Orion spacecraft again, looking forward to show it live soon. We share here new image and video.

The Artemis I - Orion spacecraft imaged on 8 Dec. 2022.

The Artemis I – Orion spacecraft imaged on 8 Dec. 2022.

The image above comes from a single 180-second exposure, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″ + Paramount ME + SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. The telescope tracked Orion’s apparent motion, this is why stars look like long trails while the probe is a sharp dot of light.

A 100% full Moon was 45 deg. from the target. We estimated the Orion spacecraft to be as bright as mag. 13.8 (unfiltered, R-mags for the reference stars from the Gaia DR2 star catalogue).

To capture the spacecraft, we used the JPL’s Horizons System and asked our Software Bisque’s Paramount ME robotic mount to track it, something we have been doing many times.

At the imaging time, Orion was about 342.000 km from us, inside the lunar orbit.

We also managed to create a short animation, showing Orion in motion against the stars on the background.

The Artemis I - Orion spacecraft tracked on 8 Dec. 2022.

The Artemis I – Orion spacecraft tracked on 8 Dec. 2022.

On 27 Nov. we took a record setting image of Orion, while it was approaching its farthest distance from the Earth.

On 10 dec.  2022, we will show Orion live, via our telescope, while it will be ready to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, join us!

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