Thierry Legault: One Transit is Not Enough

by Nancy Atkinson on June 7, 2012

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.

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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