astrophotography – How (the heck) did NASA photographer Joel Kowsky take this amazing photograph of the International Space Station transiting the Sun?

The NASA Image Feature Space Station Transits the Sun shows seven shadows of the ISS transiting the face of the Sun. In order to discuss the technical aspects of the process I’ve cropped bits of the photo and show them below. The 5.4 MB JPEG image is available in the link.

I see:

  • nice composition; the first and last instance are equally spaced from the Sun’s edge
  • excellent resolution, little blur
  • almost perfect centering of the path; the middle of the seven images is centered on the Sun to within about one ISS length in both directions, which is about 100 meters.

How as all this accomplished? What went into the planning, location and shutter timing to make all of this work so nicely?


cropped from Space Station Transits the Sun, https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/space-station-transits-the-sun Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky cropped from Space Station Transits the Sun, https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/space-station-transits-the-sun Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Cropped from Space Station Transits the Sun Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky