Space Station Transit of the Sun

8 May 2009 Transit

With a solar filter over the lens, I aimed my video camera at the Sun and zoomed to get a full screen view. The tripod mount held it steady. The transit took only 2 seconds. I let the camera record for several minutes, then rushed home to see if the ISS was visible on the recording. This video is slowed down to make it easier to follow. Else, you might blink and miss it.


How Did I Know It Would Transit?

Each week, I get an email notice about upcoming events such as ISS passes over my location. I can go out in fair weather and watch it go over. It is as bright as Venus and moves fast. Every few months, the Sun or Moon is positioned so the ISS passes across their face as viewed from my location. The email alert tells me where and when to be positioned so my view has the ISS pass across the center of the face. I got one of those alert emails a few days ago.

This map shows a centerline of the ISS in front of the Sun for the morning of 27 Feb 2016 at about 7:38m59s am CST. It plots every 0.5s. I live quite close to the line and positioned myself where it crosses 380.



27 Feb 2016 Result

I planned to test a new set of equipment for recording the event. According to the email alert, the small silhouette of the ISS would pass from right to left across the center of the solar disk. I let the camera record long enough to capture the transit and then hurried home to check the results. You can judge for yourself in the video below. It has been shortened in order to show the transit.


Either I completely missed capturing the ISS and got a gull transit instead. Or, the ISS has been fitted with a pair of flapping wing solar panels. That seems very unlikely. I hope to have better luck next time.


6 Sep 2015 Transit

Here is a high quality video of a transit as seen 6 Sep 2015 from Shenandoah National Park, Front Royal, VA.  Credit to NASA/Bill Ingalls.

ISS Solar Transit (NHQ201509060002 - animated)

14 thoughts on “Space Station Transit of the Sun

    • The timing and direction were nearly perfect. I went back and reviewed the moments of gull transit watching for evidence of the ISS. Couldn’t see anything. I’m happy with the gull anyway.

  1. I’m impressed you even tried. Pretty amazing to see ISS, ‘there’s people living up there!’ I’ve only seen it once, at night. It probably goes over often, but I’m just not attuned to it.

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