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ISS News: International Space Station Transits the Sun in NASA Photos

International Space Station (ISS) transits sun
NASA snaps photos of the ISS making its way across the sun. Engadget Twitter image. Sept. 8, 2015. |

NASA recently released images of the International Space Station crossing the face of the sun the previous Sunday.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched a habitable artificial satellite called the International Space Station (ISS) in 1998, and it was recently photographed crossing the sun's face on September 6.

The $100 billion complex, currently the largest artificial body orbiting space, can often be seen from earth. It serves as a space research laboratory with a microgravity environment in which crew members conduct a number of experiments relating to astronomy, physics, meteorology, and human biology, among many other fields.

The previous Sunday, NASA recorded the ISS transversing the sun's face, with five composite images captured by NASA photographer Bill Ingalls from his location at the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, and the transit images show the ISS passing across the enormous solar disk.

ISS transits occur only during a short period of time, with the space station travelling around the earth at over 17,000 miles per hour, completing a single lap around the planet every 90 minutes.

Transits give space scientists the valuable data relating to numerical distances, as with 18th century astronomers who were able to calculate the distance of the earth from the sun after careful observation of two of the planet Venus' transits across the face of the sun from a number of locations around the world.

Transits also give NASA a way to detect vast numbers of potential exoplanets via its Kepler space telescope, calculating its distance both from the sun and from the earth through bright dips as they cross in front of either the sun, or their own stars.

The ISS is currently manned by nine astronauts and scientists, with three of the personnel, including Aidyn Aimbetov from Kazakhstan, Andreas Mogensen from Denmark, and Gennady Padalka from Russia, the latter having set the world record for the most time spent orbiting in space, having recently returned to earth last Friday.

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