Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2016 January 22
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International Space Station Transits Saturn
Image Credit & Copyright: Julian Wessel

Explanation: From low Earth orbit to the outer Solar System, this remarkable video frame composite follows the International Space Station's transit of Saturn. On January 15, the well-timed capture from a site near Dulmen, Germany required telescope and camera to be positioned along the predicted transit centreline, a path only 40 metres wide. That put the camera about 1,140 kilometres away from the space station during the transit and 1,600,000,000 kilometres away from Saturn. A video rate of 42 frames per second follows the orbital outpost moving quickly from lower right to upper left. The transit itself lasted about 0.02 seconds, with one frame showing the station directly in front of the ringed gas giant. Of course, you could also try to capture the International Space Station as it transits Jupiter.

Tomorrow's picture: deep space dipper

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