Mineral Moon and ISS Transit

June 16, 2021




Photographers: Alexandru Barbovschi; Marek Stromayer
Summary Author: Alexandru Barbovschi 

Shown above in the top photo is the International Space Station (ISS) transiting the full mineral Moon as observed from the Republic of Moldovia on March 26, 2021. This crossing occurred precisely at at 22:19:00 local time – a duration just 0.7 seconds.

Each of the colors on the Moon’s surface represents a class of minerals. For instance, blue areas are rich in titanium, while orange areas are titanium poor. A common lunar mineral, ilmenite, is rich in titanium oxides. Regions abundant in titanium are of interest because lunar titanium is bound to oxygen. Of course, oxygen is critical for not only providing future astronauts a source of air to breath but for use as an oxidizer for rocket engines. Photo taken on March 26, 2021. Note that the bottom photo shows a close up view of another transit occurring earlier in the year.

Photo details: Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer mount (it has a lunar tracking mode available); Sky-Watcher Evostar 72ED (72/420mm); filter wheel with Baader LRGB filters set (for the transit UV/IR filter was used); Barlow 2x lens; ZWO ASI174MM camera. The ISS image was cropped out and was stacked separately to improve clarity and sharpness.