Stunning Images Show International Space Station Aligning with Sun and Moon while Orbiting Earth
Video grab and images of ISS passing in front of Sun and moon. (Credit: Instagram/ @cosmic_background)
The moon is always a subject of awe and wonder, even at such a distance, we rarely fail to consider its beauty. The sun, on the other hand, might leave you in a lot of pain if you tried to look at it or admire its magnificence.
But don’t worry, thanks to technology and talented photographers, we can look at these celestial bodies all we want, without possibly being blinded temporarily. We can gaze at things that one possibly can never see with the naked eye. Add in the benefit of photo sharing through social media, almost anyone can be a star-gazer, even if they don’t own the correct equipment.
Recently, stunning and very detailed photographs of the International Space Nation (ISS) passing in front of the sun were released. The ISS is at a distance of 250 miles from the Earth and orbits us at around 17,000mph speed. Therefore, it takes approximately 90 minutes to complete one full orbit.
The photograph of the ISS flying across the sky within a celestial backdrop was captured by photographer Andrew McCarthy. It was taken in broad daylight and according to McCarthy, is one of his trickiest shots ever. Similarly, images if ISS passing by moon were also captured.
Sharing the image on his Instagram page, he said, “'For less than a second, the sun aligned with the ISS and my backyard.” The mesmerising photograph stands testimony of not only our technological advancements but human perseverance. It took a lot of planning and timing, and not to mention, some heavy, industrious equipment.
He used two camera-telescopes with professional filters to make the ISS stand out among the solar surface. If you’ve ever tried to look at the sun (not a good idea), then you know its blinding brightness is likely to swallow and make invisible any object in its path.
After the success of his Sun-ISS photo, McCarthy managed to spot the ISS streaking through the night sky across a crescent moon. He shared the video along with the sun photographs. He shared a proper photograph of the ISS against the moon’s surface in a separate post.
ISS across the sun-
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On Tuesday, for less than a second, the sun aligned with the @iss and my backyard. This shot was captured simultaneously with two scopes, one with a white light filter for ISS details and one with a hydrogen-alpha solar telescope for surface details. By blending the images together I get a crisp, detailed snapshot of the transit. If you swipe to the last image, I inverted and enhanced contrast on the ISS's silhouette to show the orientation and details visible on the craft. If you'd like a print, check the link in my bio for my main gallery. I will also be adding to my patreon instructions for how to capture this yourself, so be sure to sign up if you'd like to know!
ISS across the moon-
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It doesn't get much cooler than this. Yesterday morning after spending hours scouting for the right location, I set up my gear on the side of a road hoping to capture something I've never seen before. The iss, illuminated by daylight, transiting a razor-thin crescent moon. Something about the way the illuminated ISS straddles the crescent gives it a sense of depth lacking in my previous transit shots. This was captured by recording high framerate video during the pass, and stitching together a full mosaic of the moon after the pass was completed, which was then blended with shots captured before the sun rose to get the "Earthshine" you see on the dark side of the moon. A print of a partial crop of this will be available in my main gallery, and digital downloads if you'd like to print this yourself. Check the link in my bio. If you would like to learn how to take these shots yourself, a full write up of how I captured this shot will be shared to my patreon later today.
The International Space Station celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Currently, the floating lab has three crew members on-board for space exploration and research.