Watch the Space Station and ATV Sail Across the Sun

Image: Station across sun
A composite that combines more than two dozen exposures shows the International Space Station's passage across the sun on Sept. 8.Thierry Legault /

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French astrophotographer Thierry Legault is back with his latest view of the International Space Station passing across the sun's disk — this time with a European twist. Over the years, Legault has pored over astronomical charts and traveled thousands of miles to capture the transits of space shuttles and the space station across the moon and the sun.

Legault's effort on Sept. 8 produced high-resolution views of the silhouetted station, seen from a distance of about 260 miles (420 kilometers) over the course of 0.7 seconds. You can see the orbital outpost's solar panels, which spread about as wide as a football field is long. And there's something extra: the European Space Agency's ATV-5 cargo craft, also known as the Georges Lemaitre. The robotic ATV-5 hooked up with the station in August and will hang around until early next year. Watch the YouTube video to see the module come into focus, but make sure you see it in full-screen HD. For more from Legault, check out his website at



— Alan Boyle

Tip o' the Log to Universe Today's Nancy Atkinson.