Absolutely Amazing: ISS, Discovery Transit Sun Near Active Sunspot Region

by Nancy Atkinson on March 9, 2011

The International Space Station and a just-undocked space shuttle Discovery transit the surface of the Sun, appearing near an active spot region, 1166. Credit: Catalin Fus. Used by permission.

Amateur astronomer Catalin Fus from Poland has captured one of the most amazing images I’ve ever seen – and his timing was impeccable. On March 7th at 13:05:49 UTC, just after space shuttle Discovery had undocked from the International Space Station, the two ships flew in formation directly in front of the Sun, as seen from Fus’ location just outside of Krakow. With his solar-filtered telescope focused on active sunspot region 1166, he found there were a couple extra spots in his image – Discovery and the ISS. Given that this was Discovery’s final mission in space and final visit to the ISS, this image has historical significance, as well as just being absolutely fantastic. Keep in mind that transits like this last just over a half a second.

He used the following equipment:

Telescope : 102mm f6.3 GPU oilspaced apochromat
self-made Herschel Prism + Meade TeleXtender 2x 1.25”
Mount: Losmandy G11
Camera: Canon EOS 550D
1frame @ ISO 100, 1/1000s
With just a touch of post processing done in PixInsight and PS CS5

Cropped version of the ISS/Discovery/sunspont conjunction. Credit: Catalin Fus. Used by permission.

You can see more Fus’ handiwork at his website, www.catalinfus.ro. Our thanks to Catalin for allowing Universe Today to post his incredible image.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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