SPACE STATION TRANSIT: "Yesterday, there were many clouds over the Black Forest," reports German photographer Achim Schaller. "Fortunately, a really stormy wind pushed them away just 20 seconds before the International Space Station passed in front of the sun!" He photographed the silhouette using a 3-inch refracting telescope and a Nikon D700:
Click on the image above for the full image of the ISS in the disk of the sun
"Have a look at the trees bent by the storm," he says.
The shape of the ISS, so beautifully highlighted in Schaller's photo, is going to change next week when space shuttle Endeavour visits the station and delivers a porch. You read that right—a porch. The purpose of the addition is not for astronauts to sit outside and watch the stars. It's for science: experiments that require hard vacuum or radiation exposure can be placed "out on the porch" to take advantage of the station's unique research environment. Launch is scheduled for June 13th.
Artist's Conception of what that porch might look like: