Astrophotographer takes a picture of the ISS against the background of the Sun during the astronauts’ spacewalk

An astrophotographer has recorded how the International Space Station (ISS) crosses the Sun during the spacewalk of two astronauts to install new solar panels.

The ISS flies against the background of the Sun and two large sunspots on June 9, 2023. At that time, two astronauts Steve Bowen and Woody Hoburg were outside the ISS during a spacewalk. Copyright: Thierry Legault

To take such a unique photo, it took astrophotographer Thierry Legault six hours to leave France and get to the perfect viewing platform in the Netherlands. It was there that the photographer managed to capture the moment of crossing the ISS against the background of the Sun, when astronauts Steve Bowen and Woody Hoburg had been in outer space for more than an hour.

The ISS is near sunspots. Copyright: Thierry Legault

The most interesting thing is that the human eye is not able to notice such a flight of the ISS. And it’s not about size, but about speed — the flight at a speed of 27 thousand km/h against the background of the Sun lasted only 0.75 seconds. That is why every image that Legault shot was taken at 1/32000 seconds using an OM-1 camera attached to a 200 mm CFF refractor with a Baader Herschel wedge and an Emmanuel Rietsch’s GPS trigger. In general, the photographer took 16 images, so 4 images every second.

“Using real time images of the Sun, I estimated the position of the main sunspot groups towards vertical and horizontal directions –which depends on time and location. I compared it to the trajectory planned by, and I tried to place myself on the corresponding transit position. This time, the ISS passed in front of 3 sunspots groups in a split second,” commented Legault on Facebook.

The International Space Station flies past the Sun in the photo in just 0.75 seconds. Copyrights: Thierry Legault

The sunspots in the Legault photos look tiny against the background of a huge star. But one such spot can easily swallow up the Earth, but it is 300 thousand times farther than the ISS. The photographer adds that despite the fact that the ISS and the Sun seem close, the Sun is at a distance of 150 million kilometers from Earth, while the ISS is only 550 kilometers away at the time of shooting.

NASA astronauts Bowen and Hoburg completed all their tasks during the installation of the deployed solar battery of the International Space Station (IROSA), which would increase power generation for the 1A power channel on the starboard side of the station. The new panels should increase the power supply of the station by 30%.

Earlier we showed the flight of the ISS against the background of a giant prominence.

According to Universe Today

Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time