Gizmodo first alerted us to this story. A very ingenious astrophotographer, Thierry Legault, has taken the first image of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Hubble Space Telescope as they transited the sun – and he used a Canon EOS 5D Mark II to make the image. As it turns out, he's also famous for photographing the International Space Station (ISS) as it too crossed the face of the sun (see more below) with the Canon EOS 5D. You've got to read the details below about how little time he had to capture this spectacle!
(Note: All images are copyrighted by Thierry Legault!)
Thierry posted this on his site:
“Only image ever taken of a transit of a space shuttle (Atlantis) and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in front of the Sun, during the last repair mission of Hubble, obtained from Florida at 100 km south of the Kennedy Space Center on May 13th 2009 12:17 local time, several minutes before grapple of Hubble by Atlantis.
Transit duration: 0.8s. Transit bandwidth on Earth: 5.6 km. Altitude: 600 km. Speed: 7 km/s (25000 km/h). Length of Atlantis : 35m, length of Hubble : 13m.”
Now just think about the planning that went into this… the length of time that the Shuttle was going to be in front of the sun from this location was 0.8 seconds! That's less than one folks! So he had to have a very accurate clock and he snapped off 16 shots at 4/second in order to get this one image. And this was a one time shot to get both the Shuttle and the Hubble together. After all, they were orbiting at 25,000 km/hour!
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