During the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse, the International Space Station (ISS) passed three times through the penumbral shadow of the moon on Earth. Astronauts aboard ISS captured images of the moon’s shadow on Earth, as did other earthly spacecraft. During the eclipse, people using the right equipment – and located in the right place – could catch the fleeting pass of ISS across the sun’s face. That pass was seen from a very thin ground track from California through Canada. Meanwhile, there was only one place where you could witness both a transit of the ISS across the partially eclipsed sun and the total solar eclipse later in the morning; it was at the intersection of this transit path with the moon’s shadow path in Wyoming. The video above – from Destin Sandlin at the educational video series Smarter Every Day, and from professional photographer Trevor Mahmann, who earns his living in part via his Patreon page – shows that ISS transit.
It’s an amazing video and a tribute to our modern information world. It’s only now – through information sharing and combined knowledge – that such things as videos of ISS transits across the sun’s face during eclipses have become possible!
Great job, guys, and awesome video!
By the way, it’s not quite true that there was only one “spot” on Earth where the transit across the sun’s face was visible. But it is true that there was only one area where the eclipse was visible. Derek Kind – who was not far from the other team – also caught the transit:
Bottom line: Video showing a transit of the International Space Station across the face of the sun during the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.