Spectacular Photos of the International Space Station Soaring Past the Sun and Moon

In November, history was made when the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in collaboration with NASA, sent four astronauts up into the sky to board the International Space Station. Once in orbit, the astronauts would take part in a six-month mission. The launch was historic for several reasons. For starters, it was the “first international crew of four to launch on an American commercial spacecraft.” 

Gwynne Shotwell,  president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, summed up the excitement perfectly stating, “Falcon 9 looked great, Dragon was dropped off into a beautiful orbit.”

Just a few weeks prior to that historical launch, Sacramento-based photographer Andrew McCarthy was standing in his backyard, gazing up at the night sky. Armed with two telescopes McCarthy captured some images of the ISS passing in front of the sun and the only word to describe them is “spectacular,” though “stunning” also fits quite well.

Happy with his result, McCarthy repeated the same process two weeks later with the moon and captured equally mesmerizing photos of the International Space Station. 

“Yesterday morning after spending hours scouting for the right location, I set up my gear on the side of a road hoping to capture something I’ve never seen before. The ISS, illuminated by daylight, transiting a razor-thin crescent moon,” McCarthy wrote on Instagram.

What makes the photos even more impressive is the fact that when standing on Earth, photographers have less than a second to capture the ISS passing the sun and moon. 

“I used two telescopes with cameras, one with a white light filter for ISS detail, and a solar telescope for surface details,” McCarthy said. The photographer called it one of his “trickiest shots ever.”

Should you want a print of your own of the ISS flying by the moon or sun, McCarthy’s prints are available for purchase from Image Kind. Images of the space station are hardly the limit of McCarthy’s beautiful photography. Posting under the Instagram handle “Cosmic_Background,” McCarthy has captured numerous stunning images of the moon, sun, Saturn, and other celestial wonders of the cosmos.

Photos via Andrew McCarthy

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