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Solar Eclipse Photograph with a Bonus Feature

Astrophotographer Thierry Legault (featured previously at Neatorama) went all the way to Oman to take a picture of a solar eclipse. The shot he wanted was only available for a split second today, and he got it! Not only is the moon moving across the sun, but you can see other things in the picture (see the full-size version at the link). The small spot towards the bottom is a sunspot twice the size of the earth, and toward the top is something that looks like a TIE fighter. That is the International Space Station (ISS)! The Bad Astronomer explains how rare this picture is:

That’s why Thierry sojourned to Oman; due to the geometry of the ISS orbit, it was from there that he had the best chance of getting a picture of the station as it passed in front of the Sun during the relatively brief duration of the actual solar eclipse. But talk about brief; the ISS was in front of the Sun for less than second, so not only did he have one chance at getting this spectacular once-in-a-lifetime shot, but he had only a fraction of a second to snap it!

The ISS was only in front of the sun for .86 seconds during the eclipse. Link

(Image courtesy of Thierry Legault)

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Date
January 4th, 2011

Author
Stranger to the World

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