Sunday, May 15, 2016

ISS and Mercury Too

ISS and Mercury Too:

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2016 May 13


See Explanation. Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.


ISS and Mercury Too

Image Credit & Copyright: Thierry Legault


Explanation: Transits of Mercury are relatively rare. Monday's leisurely 7.5 hour long event was only the 2nd of 14 Mercury transits in the 21st century. If you're willing to travel, transits of the International Space Station can be more frequent though, and much quicker. This sharp video frame composite was taken from a well-chosen location in Philadelphia, USA. It follows the space station, moving from upper right to lower left, as it crossed the Sun's disk in 0.6 seconds. Mercury too is included as the small, round, almost stationary silhouette just below center. In apparent size, the International Space Station looms larger from low Earth orbit, about 450 kilometers from Philadelphia. Mercury was about 84 million kilometers away. (Editor's note: The stunning video includes another double transit, Mercury and a Pilatus PC12 aircraft. Even quicker than the ISS to cross the Sun, the aircraft was about 1 kilometer away.)

Tomorrow's picture: launch and landing



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