Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

When natural and artificial moons align

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

A few hours before last week's lunar eclipse started here in the States, the phenomenal astrophotographer (and frequent BA Blog photo contributor) Thierry Legault was in Normandy, France, and got a magnificent picture of a different sort of transit involving the Moon:

legault_iss_moon.jpg

Wow. You definitely need to click to enlunanate and get the giant version. The full Moon would be enough to make this a nice picture, but look more carefully, just above the bright rayed crater Tycho. See that weird silhouette?

legault_iss_moon_zoom.jpg

That's the International Space Station! Thierry used software called CalSky to determine the exact time the ISS would pass in front of (transit) the Moon, and was able to snap this shot during the 0.55 seconds it took the artificial satellite to pass in front of the natural one. At the time, the station was 420 km (250 miles) away, yet the detail in the shot is astonishing. You can clearly make out the solar panels and trusses of the station. Hmmm. Come to think of it, the Moon is about 380,000 km away, so it's roughly 900 times more distant than the space station in this picture. However, it's also 35,000 times bigger, so even its much greater distance doesn't diminish its dominance in this photo. It's a stark reminder that we've explored very little of the millions of square kilometers of lunar surface. Also on his page, Thierry has a couple of gorgeous lunar eclipse images well worth your time to look at. In fact, just go to his site and poke around. Thank me later -- much later, because you'll be there a while.


Related posts: - ISS, Shuttle transit the Sun - Two solar ISS transits - AMAZING Shuttle picture - EXTREMELY cool 3D Space Station video taken from the ground - Check. This. Out. Amazing photo of the Sun...

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In