The Hubble Telescope is probably the most famous instrument in the history of science. This week NASA launched the shuttle Atlantis to do a final upgrade to the Hubble Telescope. It will be sad to see this amazing piece of gear go "dark" in five years, but it has served its purpose and has earned a well deserved place in history.
Look closer at the image below. The specks in front of what looks like an egg yolk are not what you might think. French astronomer, Thierry Legault, managed to capture the first ever photo of a space shuttle (Atlantis and the Hubble space telescope) passing in front of the Sun!
The entire transit event lasted less than one second. Had you been looking and blinked, you would have missed it. Images of the sun are possible with the proper equipment. With the aid of a Takahashi TOA-130 refractor (diameter 130mm, final focal 2200mm), Baader solar filter, and a Canon 5D mark II, Legault was able to capture history. The exposure was 1/8000s at 100 ISO, extracted from a series of 16 images (4 images/s) started 2 seconds before the predicted time.
Earth-bound astronomers often make significant contributions in the discoveries of comets and other far away objects. It is great to see there are also interesting celestial events closer to home. [Permalink]-Shuttle Atlantis Solar Transit