International Space Station Crosses Surface of the Sun in New Photo

This composite image made from five frames shows the International Space Station in silhouette as it crosses the sun, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. The images were captured from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. (PHOTO CREDIT: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
This composite image made from five frames shows the International Space Station in silhouette as it crosses the sun, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. The images were captured from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. (PHOTO CREDIT: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

An amazing new photo shows the International Space Station crossing the sun’s face.

The picture, a composite of five images taken Sunday (Sept. 6) from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia by NASA photographer Bill Ingalls, captures a “transit” of the International Space Station (ISS) across the solar disk.

Such transits don’t last very long, because the space station zooms around Earth at more than 17,000 mph (27,000 km/h) — the $100 billion complex completes one lap around our planet once every 90 minutes or so.

Transits can offer more than just aesthetic appeal. For example, in the 18th century, astronomers were able to calculate the distance from the Earth to the sun by carefully observing two transits of Venus across the sun’s face (one in 1761 and the other in 1769) from various locations around the globe.

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SOURCE: NBC News; Space.com, Mike Wall

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