ISS Transit of the Sun

August 10, 2006

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Provided by: Laurent Laveder, Optics of the Atmosphere Gallery
Summary authors & editors: Laurent Laveder

The photo series above shows the International Space Station (ISS) transiting the Sun. This fascinating transit occurred on the evening of July 9, 2006, and was photographed near Quimper, France. The ISS was at a distance of 920 km (572 miles) -- size of 20 arc-seconds.

During the afternoon, I prepared for this transit, aided by and Google Earth. Calsky can compute some coordinates usable in Google Earth. My GPS is a precious tool, especially this evening -- I can't be too far from the centrality band. I'm ready 5 minutes before the transit. I'm definitely nervous. At 8:11:27 p.m. (local time), I start the series of photos, and 16 seconds later the buffer of my Canon 350D camera is full.

I leave immediately, rushing to see the World Cup finals between France and Italy with my friends. While I heat my pizza, I take a look at the pictures and to my relief am able to see the little dark dots of the ISS silhouetted against the Sun! However, not everything worked out just right for me -- France lost the closely contested match.

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