A Spot In The Sun

It looks like a speck of dust on the surface of the sun. But this spectacular picture shows the space shuttle Atlantis alongside the International Space Station (ISS) silhouetted as they orbit the earth. Here’s the full size original picture (warning – it’s huge).

As a photographer, my question is, how did they mask out the Sun’s incredible brilliance to still catch detail of the shuttle and ISS? Digital cameras (possibly film cameras too) just don’t have that kind of dynamic range (difference between brightest brights and darkest darks).

Blogger’s addendum: Here’s more technical info on how the picture was taken: Image of the solar transit of the International Space Station (ISS) and Space Shuttle Atlantis (50 minutes after undocking from the ISS, before return to Earth), taken from the area of Mamers (Normandie, France) on september 17th 2006 at 13h 38min 50s UT. Takahashi TOA-150 refractor (diameter 150mm, final focal 2300mm), Baader helioscope and Canon 5D. Exposure of 1/8000s at 50 ISO, extracted from a series of 14 images (3 images/s) started 2s before the predicted time.

The photographer’s website is here.

Click here for the full photo.

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