SCIENCE

Dramatic Photos Show ISS Silhouetted Against Sun, Moon

NASA photographer nails photo shoot despite cloudy skies and the need for split-second timing.

Call it a double helping of celestial inspiration.

Just weeks after releasing a dramatic photo of the International Space Station passing in front of the moon, NASA has offered up an equally eye-popping image of the ISS transiting the sun.

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<span>This NASA image shows the International Space Station silhouetted against the sun.&nbsp;</span>
This NASA image shows the International Space Station silhouetted against the sun. 
<span>This NASA photo shows the ISS silhouetted against the moon.&nbsp;</span>
This NASA photo shows the ISS silhouetted against the moon. 

The new image is actually a composite of five photos of the ISS snapped by Bill Ingalls, a NASA photographer based in Washington, D.C. Ingalls took the photos from Shenandoah National Park in Front Royal, Virginia on Sept. 6, 2015.

It wasn't an easy shoot.

"Not unlike a rocket launch, there is a lot of prep work that goes into making a photo that is only a thousandth of a second or less," Ingalls told The Huffington Post in an email. "This total solar transit was only 0.6 of a second in length and I was lucky to get five frames shooting at 10 frames per second."

Ingalls, who warns against looking at or pointing a camera at the sun without a solar filter, had to work fast because the ISS and the nine crew members now on board are orbiting the Earth at a speed of about 17,500 miles per hour (5 miles per second).

What's more, Ingalls said, there were clouds in the sky when the new photos were taken--but he was "lucky again that they were out of the way at the correct time."

Lucky or not, Ingalls certainly nailed the shots.

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