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But that's where the fun is
May 15, 2009 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Atlantis. Hubble. And a big, yellow friend. Astrophotographer Thierry Legault managed to get amazing shots of Space Shuttle Atlantis approaching the Hubble Space Telescope during a transit of the sun.

Don't do this at home, kids. (His site is down, so the link is through Coral.)
posted by dhartung (46 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice title.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:06 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Incredible shot! Too damn awesome.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 3:20 PM on May 15, 2009


I used to have a similar picture (taken by the same guy, apparently, a few years ago) of the Shuttle near ISS transiting the sun as a desktop background.
posted by hattifattener at 3:22 PM on May 15, 2009


Ron Thanagar: "Too damn awesome."

Why did we stop worshiping the sun anyway?

Our lives really do derive from it. And you don't have to take its existence on faith. It's right there.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:24 PM on May 15, 2009 [11 favorites]


Awesome!
posted by vibrotronica at 3:25 PM on May 15, 2009


This is a much faster loading link.

This is the content on the slow-loading page:
Only image ever taken of a transit of a space shuttle (Atlantis) and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in front of the Sun, during the last repair mission of Hubble, obtained from Florida at 100 km south of the Kennedy Space Center on May 13th 2009 12:17 local time, several minutes before grapple of Hubble by Atlantis.

Transit duration: 0.8s. Transit bandwidth on Earth: 5.6 km. Altitude: 600 km. Speed: 7 km/s (25000 km/h). Length of Atlantis : 35m, length of Hubble : 13m.
Transit forecast (place, time...) calculated by www.calsky.com.

Takahashi TOA-130 refractor (diameter 130mm, final focal 2200mm), Baader solar prism and Canon 5D mark II. Exposure of 1/8000s at 100 ISO, extracted from a series of 16 images (4 images/s) started 2s before the predicted time.
Absolutely amazing.
posted by disillusioned at 3:26 PM on May 15, 2009


Incredible and vertigo-inducing.
posted by inire at 3:30 PM on May 15, 2009


Joe Beese: "Why did we stop worshiping the sun anyway?"

We didn't, we just covered it up in metaphor so well that most people forgot that The Son = the Sun.
posted by mullingitover at 3:31 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why did we stop worshiping the sun anyway?

Because it stopped listening, and kept on going with no heed to human wishes or worries. I think we missed a few sacrificial days, or maybe we realized the virgins weren't so pure, but lo and behold, the sun rose the next day. All the fickle gods get the attention and praise.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:35 PM on May 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why, hello, new wallpaper. Nice to see you!
posted by nosila at 3:39 PM on May 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Transit duration: 0.8s

Holy shit.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:52 PM on May 15, 2009


It's strange how wee we are.
posted by sperose at 3:55 PM on May 15, 2009


Why did we stop worshiping the sun anyway?

It's a pain to climb all those steps.
*plays chopsticks with a teenage diplomat*

Picture makes me thirsty for Tranya.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:05 PM on May 15, 2009


Am I the only one who imagined the Sun would look... I dunno. Larger? The Telescope and Shuttle look a lot larger than I imagined they would.
posted by symbioid at 4:09 PM on May 15, 2009


I am so m*th*rf*ck*ng thankful for this internet thing.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:23 PM on May 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


wow
posted by zeoslap at 4:26 PM on May 15, 2009


Unbelievable. And cool title.
posted by Simon Barclay at 4:26 PM on May 15, 2009


NVM I'm fucking dense sometimes. It's not like the Hubble is floating near the sun.
posted by symbioid at 4:29 PM on May 15, 2009


I think the falloff is interesting.
posted by jfrancis at 4:35 PM on May 15, 2009


Am I the only one who imagined the Sun would look... I dunno. Larger? The Telescope and Shuttle look a lot larger than I imagined they would.

Don't forget, they are about 360 miles away. The Sun is 93 MILLION miles away. It appears almost exactly as large in the sky as the moon does. That's how we can have total eclipses.
posted by waitingtoderail at 4:39 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


amazing, especially when you remember that they shot across the face of the sun's disc in a fraction of a second.
posted by marvin at 4:41 PM on May 15, 2009


Oh yes, "0.8 of a second"
posted by marvin at 4:41 PM on May 15, 2009


This is my new wallpaper :)
posted by the cuban at 4:55 PM on May 15, 2009


That was some good timing right there. Only four seconds of shooting?
posted by orme at 4:57 PM on May 15, 2009


amazing, especially when you remember that they shot across the face of the sun's disc in a fraction of a second.

I recall he used a Canon 5D Mk II - did he shoot running HD video and choose a frame?
posted by jfrancis at 4:58 PM on May 15, 2009


ok - I see he didn't shoot running HD from his dSLR
posted by jfrancis at 4:59 PM on May 15, 2009


This is really a mind-boggling photo. That you could capture this in the 0.8 seconds while they were in front of the sun, just as Atlantis approaches Hubble but before it grabs it blows my mind.
posted by kms at 5:16 PM on May 15, 2009


He got the transit time estimates from CalSky.com which looks pretty cool, if you are a star-looking kind of person. Here for example is a more-or-less current satellite shot centered on your location (if you are in the US). And here is where/when the ISS will transit the sun.
posted by shothotbot at 5:31 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Only image ever taken of a transit of a space shuttle (Atlantis) and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in front of the Sun, during the last repair mission of Hubble, obtained from Florida at 100 km south of the Kennedy Space Center on May 13th 2009 12:17 local time, several minutes before grapple of Hubble by Atlantis.

"However, we have hundreds and hundreds of such photos taken from 99.5 km south of Kennedy Space Center."

Why isn't there a single sunspot? Exposure time too short?
posted by DU at 5:37 PM on May 15, 2009


There's no sunspot because there aren't any sunspots on the sun right now. It's been an unusually long solar minimum.
posted by Phantomx at 5:44 PM on May 15, 2009


Nice title.

Just nobody ruin the thread by coming in here with Chopsticks, okay?
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:58 PM on May 15, 2009


Once upon a time, 27 years ago...
posted by bru at 6:23 PM on May 15, 2009


Amazing. Magnificent.
posted by WPW at 6:42 PM on May 15, 2009


Oh wow, this is sublime.
posted by treepour at 6:49 PM on May 15, 2009


For those wondering, that is a 12k USD telescope, a 400 EUR prism and a 2k USD camera. For less than 15k USD and years of practice you too can take pictures like these.
posted by dirty lies at 6:52 PM on May 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


..there aren't any sunspots on the sun right now.

Finally, solar puberty is over! My little son, all grown up...
posted by DU at 7:05 PM on May 15, 2009


Yeah DU but he won't really be a man until the Bar Mitzvah

...oh like the sun's not Jewish? His name's Sol. All the best real estate revolves around him...
posted by Smedleyman at 8:39 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I feel incredibly small right now. Thanks for posting this amazing link.
posted by futureisunwritten at 8:47 PM on May 15, 2009


Wow, I just realized this was my first post in about three years. Glad it was a good one.
posted by dhartung at 9:08 PM on May 15, 2009


Wow...


man...


dude.
posted by squarehead at 10:15 PM on May 15, 2009


There are a couple more substantially awesome photos in the NASA photostream on Flickr.

Looking forward to more photos from them, actually. Didn't know they were on Flickr til this evening.
posted by pkingdesign at 12:43 AM on May 16, 2009


Peek-a-boo: "The mission to Hubble, which began on May 11th and is planned to last 11 days, will install a wide-field camera that will let the telescope see galaxies previously beyond its reach."

Happy birthday, Hubble: "Photo Gallery for 19 Years of Hubble."

"The most important telescopes in history: In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, New Scientist takes you on an armchair tour of some of the most important telescopes ever built."
posted by dgaicun at 5:07 AM on May 16, 2009


Not the first time Legault has taken a photo of the shuttle in transit of the sun ...
posted by thecaddy at 5:02 PM on May 16, 2009


!
(not . )
!.
posted by hypersloth at 3:26 AM on May 17, 2009


Why did we stop worshiping the sun anyway?

"You do not beg the sun for mercy." — Frank Herbert, Dune
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:54 AM on May 18, 2009


The Big Picture:Hubble's final servicing mission
posted by homunculus at 3:55 PM on May 18, 2009


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