• Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:43 am

Astrophotographer captures ISS crossing moon

  • Published at 09:48 pm March 7th, 2021
ISS Moon
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The image, since shared, has garnered thousands of likes and comments

An incredible image of the International Space Station has been photographed against the backdrop of the moon, as astronauts were preparing for a spacewalk.

The laboratory in outer space was readjusted to help astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover prepare for future upgrades through solar arrays.

Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy captured the captivating image in Sacramento, California.

McCarthy photographed this rare shot at around 10:44am GMT on Monday, adding that this instantly became one of his favorite captures.

The time the photo was taken and the precision when photographing makes this capture truly remarkable. McCarthy photographed the lab, which orbits 400km above the earth, as it went across the Copernicus crater on the moon.

The lunar impact crater is usually only visible with binoculars northwest of the Moon's Earth-facing hemisphere.

The solar panels that usually stay flat on the ISS were seen moving in different angles, adding to the distinctiveness of the photograph.

McCarthy said the image had become one of his instant favourites, from the numerous photographs he captures on a regular basis.

“This is due to the novelty of capturing a spacecraft from Earth, but especially since I could clearly see the reconfiguration of the solar array due to a mission that was being live streamed from Nasa,” he explained.

“This is one of the rare times where you can observe changes in the structure due to a mission easily from Earth. In this image, you can see how the solar array has been reoriented so the crew of the ISS can install new hardware,” he added.

British astronaut Tim Peake replied to the photo on Twitter, saying: “Congratulations on getting such a fantastic shot of my old home!”

The photograph was taken on a roadside in Sacramento, California, as it was an area with clear skies.

“But I didn't expect to get this cool, rare shot of a mission happening over our heads. And to top it off, in the photo the ISS happens to be grazing my favourite lunar crater, Copernicus. What a world,” says McCarthy.

“At 2:44am this morning, I positioned myself so the ISS would pass between the moon and I to get this picture. What I didn't expect- was for the ISS to look so much different than usual,” he added. 

Glover and Rubins were working on upgrades to the power systems at the ISS, which are depreciating over time. 

Their work lasted seven hours and four minutes on Sunday, February 28, between 11:12am and 18:16pm GMT and was live streamed by Nasa.

The ISS’ eight solar wings are designed to produce 250KW of power, and was initially launched in 2000.

They were designed to have a 15 year old life span and are functioning well, however they are degrading and the oldest ones are 21 years old. Newer arrays will replace the older ones later this year, with a launch planned to take place in June.

Soichi Noguchi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will be pairing up with Rubins to upgrade more solar arrays in the upcoming spacewalk.

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