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Thierry Legault: One Transit is Not Enough

The transit of the Hubble Space Telescope across the Sun was taken from Queensland, Australia, simultaneously with the 2012 transit of Venus. Credit: Thierry Legault. Used by permission.

Astrophotographer Thierry Legault had told us he was traveling to Australia for the Transit of Venus, so we knew he had something special planned. But that still didn’t prepare us for the awesomeness of what he has just achieved. During the Transit of Venus, Legault also captured the Hubble Space Telescope moving across the face of the Sun. Not once, but 9 times, during the HST’s transit time of .97 seconds. “Thanks to the continuous shooting mode of the Nikon D4 DSLR running at 10 fps,” Legault said on his website, which shows his new images. Of course, due to the differences in distance from Earth of Hubble vs. Venus, Venus took a lazy 6-plus hours to make its transit. A few giant sunspots also join in the view.

Below see a close-up of the two transits and a look at Legault’s set-up in the Outback of Queensland.

A close-up of Venus and Hubble (tiny black dots just above Venus) transiting the Sun. Credit: Thierry Legault. Used by permission.

Legault's equipment setup for viewing the Venus Transit in Queensland, Australia. Credit: Thierry Legault. Used by permission.

Legault noted that just one of the telescope/camera setups was his. So, he had just one chance of capturing the double transit. And he nailed it.

Here’s the map from CalSky of where the HST transit would be visible, just a thin band across the top of Queensland:

Map from CalSky of the Hubble Transit. Via Thierry Legault.

Legault said he has some more images on the way, including the ring of the atmosphere of Venus around the first contact, images of the transit in H-alpha, and the full ring of Venus 24 hours after the transit, so keep checking his website for more fantastic images.

Congratulations to Thierry Legault for a truly amazing and special capture of the Transit of Venus, something that won’t happen again in our lifetimes. And thanks to Thierry for sharing his images with Universe Today.


Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Patrick Ahles June 7, 2012, 2:34 PM

    This guy is amazing!

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  • naureenamjad June 7, 2012, 3:26 PM

    Awesomeness, indeed!

  • Emerald_Isle_Meteorites June 7, 2012, 3:29 PM

    totally amazing that he worked those numbers and nailed it

  • Mastercope June 7, 2012, 4:18 PM

    Thierry Legault, thanks for all that you do! You the man.

  • Aerandir90 June 7, 2012, 4:24 PM

    He’s the MAN

  • Tibomike June 7, 2012, 8:50 PM

    Thierry, you’re a star of astrophotography – congratulations! I’ve seen many pictures of different transits, and expected spectacular photos of this Venus transit, but your photo shows a unique combination of an excellent idea, great technology, lots of experience, perseverance, and creativity. Keep the great work!

  • JonHanford June 8, 2012, 12:30 AM

    Not to detract from Thierry’s awesome image, but I read that several people were going to try for an image that included the ISS during the transit. Does anyone know of such an image, similar to this one taken during the 2004 event?: http://images.sciencedaily.com/2012/06/120601231754-large.jpg

    • Thierry Legault June 8, 2012, 10:41 PM

      Jon, unfortunately no transit of ISS was visible from anywhere on Earth, land or sea, during the transit of Venus.

      Thanks to all for your nice comments!

  • H Edward Rivera June 8, 2012, 7:05 PM

    Thanks to you also ,FRASER, for sharing .

  • H Edward Rivera June 8, 2012, 7:05 PM

    Thanks to you as well Fraser for sharing. Awesome pictures.