Trânsito solar do Shuttle e Hubble


23 Jan 2007
Atlantis and Hubble Side by Side

Explanation: On Wednesday, May 13, two, tiny, fast moving spots crossed an otherwise featureless solar disk. Not sunspots though, the dark blemishes were silhouettes of the shuttle orbiter Atlantis and the Hubble Space Telescope side by side. To record this sharp picture of the orbiting pair against the face of the Sun, astronomer Thierry Legault carefully set up his camera and telescope near the center of a 5 kilometer wide path of visibility about 100 kilometers south of Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He opened the shutter for 1/8,000 second at 12:17 EDT, catching Atlantis and Hubble at a range of 600 kilometers while they were moving at 7 kilometers/second. The total duration of the transit (Sun crossing) was 0.8 seconds. Enlarged in the inset view, Atlantis (top) is approaching Hubble prior to capturing the space telescope. Thursday, astronauts began a series of spacewalks to perform the maintenance as part of the final mission to Hubble.

Only image ever taken of a transit of a space shuttle (Atlantis) and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in front of the Sun, during the last repair mission of Hubble, obtained from Florida at 100 km south of the Kennedy Space Center on May 13th 2009 12:17 local time, several minutes before grapple of Hubble by Atlantis.

Transit duration: 0.8s. Transit bandwidth on Earth: 5.6 km. Altitude: 600 km. Speed: 7 km/s (25000 km/h). Length of Atlantis : 35m, length of Hubble : 13m.
Transit forecast (place, time...) calculated by

Takahashi TOA-130 refractor (diameter 130mm, final focal 2200mm), Baader solar prism and Canon 5D mark II. Exposure of 1/8000s at 100 ISO, extracted from a series of 16 images (4 images/s) started 2s before the predicted time.


(c) Thierry Legault


(c) Thierry Legault

The following transit has been taken from the vicinity of the Kennedy Space Center on May 12th, only 24 hours after the launch of Atlantis as it was halfway to Hubble, at a distance of only 260 km. Duration of the transit: only 0.3 second. The thin silhouette confirms that the cargo bay doors were opened.


(c) Thierry Legault


(c) Thierry Legault

Waiting one of the transits from Daytona Beach Shores, Florida:


(c) Thierry Legault