Incredible Photo Shows The ISS in Front of a Strangely Spotless Sun

The International Space Station (ISS) is the single biggest spacecraft ever built, and one of the most sophisticated machines put in orbit by human kind. Against the fiery backdrop of our Sun, however, the achievement - roughly the size of a football field - looks decidedly puny.

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A dazzling picture, taken in broad daylight by photographer Rainee Colacurcio, shows just how insignificant the ISS truly is. One of her shots (above) was recently featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), and we've included another one below:



Using a dedicated hydrogen-alpha solar scope, which can help us view the Sun in all its blazing glory, Colacurcio managed to catch a glimpse of the ISS at the precise moment it passed between Earth and our Solar System's magnificent centre. Appearing like a dark splotch in the corner of the disk, the station's H-like silhouette can barely be made out against the burning background. And while it may look like a sunspot at first, it's far too uniformly dark to be mistaken for one.

According to the caption on APOD, most sunspots have a dark central umbra, followed by a lighter penumbra ring surrounding it, and - obviously! - no solar panels.

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