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The International Space Station Transits the Sun


The News Robot
Jul 28, 2004
The International Space Station Transits the Sun

The International Space Station Transits the Sun
Credit & Copyright: Martin Wagner

Explanation: That's no sunspot. It's the International Space Station (ISS) caught by chance passing in front of the Sun. Sunspots, individually, have a dark central umbra, a lighter surrounding penumbra, and no solar panels. By contrast, the ISS is a complex and multi-spired mechanism, one of the largest and most sophisticated machines ever created by humanity. Also, sunspots occur on the Sun, whereas the ISS orbits the Earth. Transiting the Sun is not very unusual for the ISS, which orbits the Earth about every 90 minutes, but getting one's timing and equipment just right for a great image is rare. Strangely, besides that fake spot, the Sun, last week, lacked any real sunspots. Sunspots have been rare on the Sun since the dawn of the current Solar Minimum, a period of low solar activity. Although fewer sunspots have been recorded during this Solar Minimum than for many previous decades, the low solar activity is not, as yet, very unusual.

(Via NASA)


Code Monkey
Staff member
Mar 20, 2004
Anybody else expecting the next scene to have been a puff of smoke coming off of the sun from where the station was last seen (ala countless sci-fi movies)?

I watch way too many movies.