Kris Smith ©
Jessica Plautz
December 13, 2016

The crossing of the International Space Station in front of November's supermoon looks crystal clear in this image, but capturing it was no small feat.

Travel + Leisure got the details on what it took to capture this 1.6-second event direct from the photographer.

“All told, it probably took me around four hours to get the image,” Kris Smith told T+L—and that was after waiting a year for the right opportunity.

Kris Smith

Smith took the photo from a high school practice field in Fort Worth, Texas, which offered darker sky (away from street lights) and an unobstructed view of the moon.

“I began by checking all my gear, making sure I had everything I needed and all the batteries were charged. I packed up my car, double checked the crossing prediction, and headed out 1.5 hours prior,” Smith said. “It took me about an hour to setup, align the telescope, and and get the camera settings adjusted. I used the last 30 minutes [before the crossing] to take test shots and fine tune the results.”

The image above was the result of eight photos out of 800 taken.

“I could not believe my eyes, partly because I finally captured the ISS crossing the moon, but the other part the marvel of engineering, space flight, and mankind's abilities,” Smith said.

NASA recognized the accomplishment as the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

If capturing a celestial event is on your to-dos, it's all about the preparation—and patience.

“Mother nature is one of the most challenging and frustrating parts of astrophotography, you can have great equipment, technique, and the best vantage point, however, if mother nature decides its going to be cloudy and rainy, there isn't a thing you can do about it,” said Smith, who tried to capture the space station crossing the moon four months prior, but was foiled by weather.

The last supermoon of 2016 will light up the skies the night of Tuesday, December 13.

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