Now you see it, now you don’t – a solar transit by the space station

Orbiting at 7.6 kilometres (4.7 miles) per second, the International Space Station takes about an hour and a half to complete one trip around the planet but less than one second to zip across the face of the Sun as viewed from Earth. Dani Caxete captured this remarkable frame in a clip shot from Madrid on 5 September 2017 showing the ISS passing between two giant sunspots. The lab’s four large solar arrays can be seen, two on either side, along with radiators and the station’s central axis made up of pressurized modules. To catch the fast-moving target, Caxete used a Long Perng ED 80 telescope with a Nikon D610 camera and 1100mm f/12 lens shooting at ISO 1000. The exposure time was 1/4000 of a second.

This image is one of those shortlisted in this year’s Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, organised by the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Winners from the 2018 competition will be announced on 23 October at a special awards ceremony.

Image: Dani Caxete (Fernández Méndez) (Spain)