Thierry Legault is a gift to astronomy bloggers. He just sent me this:
The big yellow thing is the Sun. But look at the upper right section. See those two dark blips? The one on the left is the Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis and on the right is the International Space Station! Incredibly, Thierry caught them as they passed directly in front of the Sun! To give you an idea of how talented Thierry is, the entire transit lasted just over half a second.
Click to embiggen. I mean it, click it. The full-scale image is drop-dead incredible. Mind you, Atlantis had just started its pitch maneuver, designed to show its belly to the crew on the ISS so they can inspect it for heat tile damage. That means this image was taken shortly before the Orbiter docked with the station, on May 16th. Thierry was in Madrid specifically to get this shot.
Un frakkin’ believable.
Get a good look. This is the last mission of Atlantis (unless it’s needed as a rescue mission later this year), so we won’t get too many more views like this.
Image used with permission by Thierry Legault.