Blink and you'll miss it
May 19, 2010 4:01 PM Subscribe
As the shuttle program winds down, astrophotographers like Thierry Legault are taking advantage of these last opportunities to capture absolutely incredible shots like this one, showing Atlantis' transit in front of the sun as it performs its inspection backflip before docking with the ISS. His other photography includes this magnificent series of the launch of STS-125.
For this transit of a maximum duration of 0.54s, the visibility band crossed Spain, southern France, Northern Italy, Austria etc. This band was 4.8 km wide but being placed at its edge implies that the transit duration becomes zero, so in practice I had to be placed less than 1 km from the center of the band. The choice of central Spain has been deduced from the study of weather forecast and detailed maps on Google-Earth.
ISS distance to observer: 391 km. Speed in orbit: 7.4km/s (26500 km/h or 16500 mph).
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