NASA shares breathtaking image of International Space Station crossing Sun 3000 kmph

The US space agency NASA has captured a stunning image of International Space Station making a solar transit at a very high speed of approximately 3000 kilometres per hour. Since ISS is the largest artificial satellite present in space, it appears like a bright spot in the sky which is visible through naked eyes.

In the image, ISS is moving in front of the Sun when seen from earth and scientists at NASA were able to capture the solar transit of ISS moving at nearly 30,000 kmph. The stunning image is a delight to watch for sky gazers as it shows ISS crossing the solar surface. This composite image, made from ten frames, shows the International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, in silhouette as it transits the sun at roughly five miles per second, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, from Newbury Park, California. Onboard as part of Expedition 50 are: NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson: Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko, Sergey Ryzhikov, and Oleg Novitskiy: and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

It is here to mention that ISS revolves around the earth at a distance just 400 kilometres, and at a speed of at 8 km/second. In other words, it revolves around the earth 15 times in a day. Revolving from such a closer distance is the reason that people can manage to take a gaze at the space station in naked eye itself.

The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields. The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars.

For ISS sightings users can visit ISS sighting web page and search their locations in the search bar. It will come up with the date and time at which you can view the ISS. However, if you are unable to find positive results at your location then it will show near places where you can view ISS.

How do I Spot The Station?

Time is when the sighting opportunity will begin in your local time zone. All sightings will occur within a few hours before or after sunrise or sunset. This is the optimum viewing period as the sun reflects off the space station and contrasts against the darker sky.

Visible is the maximum time period the space station is visible before crossing back below the horizon.

Max Height is measured in degrees (also known as elevation). It represents the height of the space station from the horizon in the night sky. The horizon is at zero degrees, and directly overhead is ninety degrees. If you hold your fist at arm’s length and place your fist resting on the horizon, the top will be about 10 degrees.

Appears is the location in the sky where the station will be visible first. This value, like maximum height, also is measured in degrees from the horizon. The letters represent compass directions — N is north, WNW is west by north-west, and so on.

Disappears represents where in the night sky the International Space Station will leave your field of view.


The space station looks like an aeroplane or a very bright star moving across the sky, except it doesn’t have flashing lights or change direction. It will also be moving considerably faster than a typical aeroplane (aeroplanes generally fly at about 600 miles (965 km) per hour; the space station flies at 17,500 miles (28,000 km) per hour).

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  • Beetle

    First off, the title of this article states the the ISS was moving 30,000 km per hour, but in the body of the article, it states 1/10 that speed, or 3,000 kmph. I really get tired of reading about astronauts and satellites whizzing around the earth at such speeds. They are actually standing still! Velocity is a meaningless term until you compare it to something. Relative to the surface of the earth, satellites have a velocity of 17,500 mph, true. But it is also moving with the earth around the sun at 66,600 mph. The solar system, in turn, is moving at 558,000 mph around the Milky Way! And so on. If you stand on the equator, you are traveling at 1,000 mph, but you feel nothing. Neither do the astronauts in the ISS. The only thing you will ever feel on a space voyage is acceleration, or a change in velocity. Once the rocket motors cut off, your are weightless.