ISS looks like a Star Wars TIE fighter as it crosses the sun in NASA image


The International Space Station transited the sun on June 24, 2020 in this composite image.


NASA/Joel Kowsky

It’s tricky enough to get a good photo of the International Space Station as it’s zipping across the sky. It’s even tougher to get a gorgeous shot of it crossing the face of the sun. Please give a round of applause to NASA photographer Joel Kowsky. 

NASA released a composite image made up of six frames showing the ISS in silhouette as it transited across the sun “at roughly 5 miles per second” on June 24. NASA also released a short video of the transit made from 10 photographs. 

It took a combination of skill, equipment and timing to capture the image. While the station’s silhouette looks a bit like a TIE fighter from Star Wars, what you’re seeing off to the sides are the large ISS solar panel arrays.

The ISS represents more than just a collection of orbiting equipment. There are currently two Russian cosmonauts and three NASA astronauts on the station. The NASA crew includes SpaceX Crew Dragon pioneers Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who arrived in late May during the historic Demo-2 mission

If you want to catch the ISS for yourself, whether with a camera or with the naked eye, check out NASA’s Spot the Station site and sign up for a heads-up alert for when it will be flying over your part of the world.



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