Science

International Space Station photobombs eclipse

The space station crossed the path of the eclipse three times.

The International Space Station joined in the fun of the total eclipse by photobombing the moon’s pass in front of the sun.

As Earthlings peered skywards at the alignment of the moon and sun the space station could also be seen.

The International Space Station seen as well as the partial eclipse in the US in 2017 (Joel Kowsky/AP)
An image made from seven frames showing the path of the ISS in front of the sun during the eclipse (Joel Kowsky/AP)

The ISS, which currently has six crew on board for Expedition 52, transits the sun at roughly five miles per second. Nasa issued a composite picture, made from seven frames, showing the spacecraft’s path as pictured from Wyoming.

In the US, the total eclipse was visible from the east to west coast in a path about 60 to 70 miles wide. Outside of this path people could see a partial eclipse.

Eclipse Washington
The ISS as seen from Washington during the eclipse (Bill Ingalls/AP)

The space station crossed the path of the eclipse three times as it orbited above the continental US at an altitude of 250 miles.

Nasa reported 4.4 million people were watching its TV coverage midway through the eclipse, the biggest livestream event in the space agency’s history.

From the vantage point of the ISS, the eclipse is somewhat different.

Instead of the obscuring of the sun by the moon, the astronauts saw an incredible moon shadow called the umbra.

The Moon's Umbra viewed from the International Space Station (Nasa)
The moon shadow seen from the ISS (Nasa)

The six astronauts on board are Nasa’s Randy Bresnik, Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, the European Space Agency’s Paolo Nespoli, and Roscosmos’ Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy.

Still, the view from Earth was pretty spectacular.

Eclipse 2017 as seen from Missouri (Anthony Souffle/PA)
The eclipse as seen from Missouri (Anthony Souffle/PA)

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