Jan. 4, 2011 — Seeing a partial solar eclipse is spectacular enough. But ace astrophotographer Thierry Legault found a way to make today's partial solar eclipse even more memorable.
He traveled to Oman, and with split second timing, he captured a view that will be hard to forget. In a brief moment, with the moon blocking a section of the sun's disk, Legault opened his camera shutter for a mere 1/5000th of a second, capturing the International Space Station (ISS) as it transited the sun.
What you're seeing here is a double eclipse; the moon and the ISS simultaneously passing between the Earth and the sun. Also in the shot are groups of sunspots bubbling on the solar photosphere.
While the picture alone is one to remember, it's the sheer skill of the photographer that made this possible. The ISS transited the sun in less than a second (0.86 seconds to be precise), so not only did Legault have to be in the right place to see the ISS dash in front of the sun, his timing needed to be perfect.
Fortunately, at this time of year, Oman promises clear skies, hence his decision to travel to the Middle East. In Oman, there's a "chance of clear sky close to 100% in this season!" Legault told SpaceWeather.com.