In a blatant effort to further entrench my nerd cred after last weeks math-based post, today I’m going to pivot to the cosmos. Most astrophotography is pretty cool, but I can only look at so many crab nebulas and supernovae before I start to lose interest. Then there is this:
What you are looking at is a photograph by Thierry Legault of the Sun. That spec on the right side of the image is not a piece of dirt on your screen – that’s the Space Shuttle Atlantic as it crosses the path of the sun. Setting aside the ridiculous bevy of filters, refractors, and telescopes that you need to attach to a camera to get this shot, the most impressive part of this is the timing and precision necessary to take that picture at the right time. The 35 meter long aircraft is traveling at approximately 15,000 mph at about 375 miles above the Earth. With some math that is far beyond me, that translates to a shuttle transit across the view of the sun of 0.8 seconds. Gives new meaning to capturing a fleeting moment. Not to mention the fact that this is the first time this has ever been done.
Click on through for a couple more images, including a cropped image of the spacecraft and a few other images of the shuttle nearing the Hubble telescope in solar transit.