Capturing footage of the International Space Station (ISS) hurtling through space at approximately 17,500 mph (28,000 km/h) is no mean feat, yet French astrophotographer Thierry Legault has pulled it off yet again.
In his latest stunning footage, captured on Friday (June 9), Legault imaged the ISS whizzing past three sunspot groups, the largest of them big enough to swallow Earth whole. The entire solar transit lasted just 0.75 seconds.
Legault drove six hours from his home to go to the Netherlands, where he watched the transit happen just one hour after the spacewalk began.
"This time, the ISS passed in front of 3 sunspots groups in a split second!" Legault wrote.
The ISS orbits Earth every 90 minutes, traveling about the distance from Earth to the moon and back again in just one day.
Though the two targets may look close to each other in Legault's footage, unlike Icarus, the ISS stays a safe distance from the sun. The ISS orbits approximately 250 miles (402 kilometers) above Earth, but the sun is on average almost 300,000 times farther away from us, at 93 million miles (150 million km).
The secret to capturing such an iconic moment? Precision planning and clear skies!
CFF200 apo refractor, Baader Herschel wedge, Olympus OM-1, Emmanuel Rietsch's GPS trigger
"Using real-time images of the sun, I estimated the position of the main sunspot groups towards vertical and horizontal directions (which depends on time and location)," Legault told Space.com in an email.
"I compared it to the trajectory planned by www.transit-finder.com, and I tried to place myself on the corresponding transit line (which was not the center of the transit visibility path)," Legault continued.
According to Legault, all the individual images are single shots at 1/32000s. He doesn't capture ISS transits with stackings or assemblies.