The International Space Station has a new kind of (almost) selfie to boast with; even though it was not taken from the orbiting outpost itself but from Earth, the ISS transiting in front of the Sun is surely a spectacular image to look at.
Five nations are currently being represented on the extended crew that inhabits the space station. The five mesmerizing images of the ISS passing across the face of the Sun have been combined in one large panorama, a composite that was released by NASA on September 8.
The actual images have been taken on Sunday, September 6, 2015, and the author responsible for them is no other but the renowned NASA photographer Bill Ingalls. He was located in Shenandoah National Park, Front Royal, VA, at the time of the shooting.
Ingalls has put his name on plenty of space images, taking photos of numerous space launches and international NASA events around the world. His work is greatly appreciated, as the solar transit – passing in a blink of an eye – requires exquisitely careful planning.
And it didn’t help that the ISS was going about 5 miles per second, in spite of the recent beef up caused by the nine cosmonauts and astronauts living aboard for a week’s time. There are four Russians (Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko, Oleg Kononenko, Sergey Volkov), two Americans (Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren), and one each from Kazakhstan (Aidyn Aimbetov), Japan (Kimiya Yui), and Denmark (Andreas Mogensen).
They were brought aboard by three separate Russian Soyuz capsules. The crew also welcomed Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, who are the first ever 1-year ISS mission crew. They reached the ISS back in March and are not almost halfway through their 12 month stay.
Their research is focused on defining the effect that long term stays in space have on the human body, which will bring important insight for NASA’s long-term plans of reaching Mars sometime in the 2030s.
After completing a six-month stay, Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka will soon depart for the voyage back on Earth; before that however, he very ceremoniously handed Kelly the command of the ISS this past Saturday. Kelly has become ISS commander for the second time, after also commanding a NASA Space Shuttle.
Image Source: Science Alert