First lunar eclipse ever photographed with a transit of the ISS

First Lunar Eclipse Ever Photographed with a Transit of the ISS
A montage of images taken during the lunar eclipse on September 28, 2015, as seen from Rambouillet, France. ISS transit duration (total): 1.7 seconds. This is the first time an ISS transit has been photographed during an eclipse. Credit: Thierry Legault.

To our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has ever photographed a transit of the International Space Station of the moon DURING a lunar eclipse. And guess who did it?

Not surprisingly, it was the legendary astrophotographer Thierry Legault.

Usually, Thierry will travel up to thousands of miles to capture unique events like this, but this time, he only had to go 10 miles!

"Even if I caught a cold, I could not miss it," Thierry told Universe Today in an email. "The was very low on the horizon, only 16 degrees, so the seeing was not very good, but at least the sky was clear."

Still, a stunning—and singularly unique—view of the "Super blood moon" eclipse!

It was a quick pass, with the ISS transit duration lasting a total of 1.7 seconds. Thierry uses CalSky to calculate where he needs to be to best capture an event like this, then studies maps, and has a radio synchronized watch to know very accurately when the transit event will happen.

In a previous article, Legault shared how he figures out the best places to travel to from his home near Paris to get the absolute best shots:

"For transits I have to calculate the place, and considering the width of the visibility path is usually between 5-10 kilometers, but I have to be close to the center of this path," Legault explained, "because if I am at the edge, it is just like an eclipse where the transit is shorter and shorter. And the edge of visibility line of the transit lasts very short. So the precision of where I have to be is within one kilometer."

Here's the specs: ISS Speed: 25000 km/h (15500 mph). ISS Distance: 1100 km; moon distance: 357,000 km (320x).

Universe Today's David Dickinson said he's been trying to steer people towards trying to capture an ISS during a lunar eclipse for quite some time, and concurred that Thierry's feat is a first. Dave made a video earlier this year to explain how people might photograph it during the April 2015 lunar eclipse, but unfortunately, no astrophotographers had any luck.

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Source: Universe Today
Citation: First lunar eclipse ever photographed with a transit of the ISS (2015, September 29) retrieved 4 August 2020 from
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