Atlantis and ISS in solar transit

Via Space Weather. “Yesterday (May 22nd) in Switzerland, Thierry Legault photographed the International Space Station (ISS) and space shuttle Atlantis passing directly in front of the sun.” He’s making a habit of this.

The small image here doesn’t do justice to the astounding images he’s taken during the 0.49 second solar transit.  You have to go to his website to see those in full.

Equally astounding are the images of a transit 50 minutes before Atlantis docked with the ISS.  And if you scroll down there you’ll see a short video clip of that transit in real time.

Meanwhile the Solar Dynamics Observatory is providing more wondrous images of Sol in action.

Like this “Pick of the Week for May 21, 2010”

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  • Oracle

    Fab pictures Pete, although I must admit until I saw the Shuttle and the ISS in proximity I did not realise the ISS was so restrained in size.
    Once the solar panels are removed it’s no bigger than the Shuttle itself.
    What hardware is he using to harvest those images Pete because in the real time clip it looks like the Sun is spinning too fast to be a possibility.

  • Pete Baker


    I think that may be atmospheric distortion you’re seeing, rather than the Sun spinning.

    Technical equipment.

    For stills – Takahashi TOA-150 refractor (diameter 150mm, final focal 2500mm), Baader Herschel prism and Canon 5D Mark II. Exposure of 1/8000s at 100 ISO, extracted from a series of 16 images (4 images/s) started 2s before the predicted time.

    Video – FSQ-106ED Takahashi refractor, Astrosolar photo filter and a Casio EX-FH100 compact camera, VGA videos (640×480) at 120 frames per second.

    I’m assuming he also has some additional software to predict the transit time.

  • Oracle

    Cheers Pete,

    I’ve decided after many a year contemplating investing some time (correction a lot of time) this autumn i’m going to start grinding my own mirror or at least get the process ready drums sand ceramics bonding jigs ect….. going to opt for something between 22″ and 30″ depending on seating and parabolic blank costs

  • Pete Baker


    Good luck with that project.