Astronomy Picture of the Day: 11/19/13 – The ISS Transiting the Moon


Image Credit: Thierry Legault

In a truly one-of-a-kind photograph, astrophotographer Theirry Legault captured this detailed image of the International Space Station transiting the moon from our vantage point. This is such an incredibly difficult shot to capture since the ISS is constantly traveling at 7.5k meters per second, or about 28,0000 km/h (17,500 mph). Therefore, it only takes about half a second for the ISS to dance across the face of the moon. As you can (hopefully) see, the ISS was snapped here about an inch above the famous Tycho crater (not literally, of course. It just appears as such because of the photo’s size.)

Legault took this image from Avranches in Normandy, France a few hours before the eclipse, on December 20th of 2010. He used a Meade 10″ ACF on Takahashi EM400, with a Canon 5D mark II.

Here’s a high resolution version of the photo, which has a zoom feature that’s handy in showing the clarity in which this image was taken in. More of astrophotographer, Thierry Legault’s award-winning images can be found on his website. He also has some absolutely fabulous images of the ISS and the docked space shuttle, Endeavor transiting the sun, along with the only known image of the Hubble Space Telescope and a Space Shuttle making that same journey.

Lastly, did you know you can actually get email alerts from NASA when the ISS is expected to pass over your location?

87 thoughts on “Astronomy Picture of the Day: 11/19/13 – The ISS Transiting the Moon

  1. Ondřej Kmoch

    Well.. i had no idea that amateur astronomers can take this sharp picture of the ISS.

    As this surely works vice versa, goverment spy sattelites now are probably able to see whether you wear a ring…

  2. Hunter Thompson

    Anybody ever wonder why we don’t have amazing high def pics of the moon where we can see the craters in great detail? Maybe we do and I’m oblivious to where they may be found but I find it strange.

  3. Hunter Thompson

    I understand that completely but with the ISS and other missions it just seems like we could get some better photos of the moon. Don’t get me wrong I understand that it’s not as simple as point and shoot and voila here’s a hi res picture of the moon. The distance is quite far but it just strikes me as odd.

  4. Francisco Leite

    ___I gave speaches in New York inspired and motivated by the time of the falling of towers, sept/11/2001, because I was there. And in my speach that I´ve spoken were motivated to make it clear that wasn´t a cause but effect, what kind of efeect, the effect of the exacerbated muscular power of the ministry of defence of the United States of America!!! I gave speaches all over the city, in Columbia Universuty, Whashington Square Park, Whashington Square and others!!!! We can use our knolledge to create a world of Peace and not war!!! We have a world of this Planet of culture, ans this is sufficient enough to united all of us and not to divide!!!!!

    • Joshua Cliche

      Totally different. that’s like saying getting to the top of a mountain in a gondola isn’t difficult as hiking it. Sometimes It’s not about being at the top; its about how you got there.

  5. Pete Christopher

    Maybe it’s me, but the crater just left of center has mining tracks going out in several directions from it, none of which are consistent with ejecta from an impact. I’ve never heard anyone explain those lines.

  6. Gayle Maich

    This past summer I was in a photographic contest, one of the themes was a full moon. I took a picture that looks exactly like this minus the space station. I mounted my camera on a tripod to limit distortion due to minute movement. The camera I used was a Fugi Fine Pix HS10 I used full optical zoom resolution 72dpi, f/6.4, 1/2200 sec, iso- 3200, and no flash

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