The International Space Station is captivating, not only in the way that the astronauts aboard it carry out their objectives, but also in how astrophotographers are able to capture it in such beautiful moments. One of the most recent ISS videos shows the station passing in front of three massive sunspots, bathing the station in a background of bright sunlight.
Earlier in the week, Steve Bowen and Woody Hoburg performed a spacewalk to install a new set of iROSA panels on the International Space Station. Theirry Legault, an astrophotographer, packed his gear and drove for six hours in order to capture the ISS transiting the sun just one hour following the start of the spacewalk.
While the ISS may look extremely close to the sun in the video and photos, which Legault shared on Facebook and Twitter, the station is actually still 93 million miles from the sun, as it orbits just 250 miles above the Earth. While it might seem like dumb luck to capture such an iconic look at the ISS, Legault says it takes a lot of precision planning and clear weather.
“Using real-time images of the sun, I estimated the position of the main sunspot groups towards vertical and horizontal directions,” Legault explained to Space.com. From there, it was all about comparing the planned trajectory to others, which allowed him to place himself on the visibility path for such a capture. The result, of course, is the beautiful ISS video that you can see for yourself.
We’ve seen other captures of the ISS in iconic positions like this, including some showing the ISS in front of the Sun, where it appears almost like a black square streaming across our solar system’s star. The latest video serves as a reminder that even the most minute of things in our universe can be beautiful.
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