Quite a feat capturing the partial solar eclipse including both the sun and moon and at the same time capturing the NASA International Space Station with a single Canon EOS 5D Mark II (reviews) still frame! You might be thinking this is no big deal, but logistically, it is amazing! The Space Station is traveling so fast in space, and the Sun is so relatively small in the sky, the Space Station crosses the face of the sun in less than 1 second! 0.84 of a second actually! Not to mention having to be in the right position on the Earth to capture this marvel. And if you want to know exactly how fast that is, watch the video (third item down) on this page – showing real time video of a different date of the Space Station crossing the face of the Sun)


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Last in May 2009, we highlighted a photo also taken by Thierry Legault where he photographed the Space Shuttle Atlantis crossing the face of the sun… which was cool – but this time, we get the moon thrown into the photo!

Thierry Legault - Lunar transit of the ISS and solstice lunar eclipse on Dec 21 2010 - click the image to see larger size on Thierry Legault's site.

Thierry Legault - Lunar transit of the ISS and solstice lunar eclipse on Dec 21 2010 - click the image to see larger size on Thierry Legault's site.


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Equipment

Now, the image is just darn cool regardless of the camera used, but it so happens that Thierry has a Canon EOS 5D Mark II so that puts it on the blog. But imagine the work that goes into figuring out where to be and at exactly what time the shutter needs to click! Way too much math for me!

In one of the posts, Thierry mentions firing off the camera on burst mode for two seconds before thru two seconds after the calculated time just to make sure. There’s no mention of how the camera is fired tho.

Here’s Thierry’s description of the setup.

Image of the solar transit of the International Space Station (ISS), taken from the area of Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman on January 4th 2011 at 9:09 UT, during the partial solar eclipse.

Takahashi FSQ-106ED refractor on EM-10 mount, Canon EOS 5D Mark II. 1/5000s exposure at 100 iso.

Transit forecast calculated by www.calsky.com (many thanks to Arnold Barmettler for his help).

Transit duration: 0.86s. ISS distance to observer: 510 km. Speed in orbit: 7.8km/s (28000 km/h or 17000 mph).

The image shows three planes in space: the Sun at 150 million km, the Moon at about 400000 km and the ISS at 500 km.

Other crossings

Thierry has gotten pretty experienced at capturing these events it seems – just check out the different things he has on his home pagein this case, he’s photographed the Space Station crossing the face of the Moon.

Thierry Legault - Lunar transit of the ISS and solstice lunar eclipse on Dec 21 2010

Thierry Legault - Lunar transit of the ISS and solstice lunar eclipse on Dec 21 2010 - click the image to see larger size on Thierry Legault's site.

Now isn’t that just cool? I think so – but I was an astronomy geek when I was young too. Worked all summer mowing lawns so I could buy a telescope (which sits now gathering dust in the basement – 35 years later!)

(Photo credit: snap from the Thierry Legault site)

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