The best 2016 supermoon photo we’ve seen yet took several years of planning

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The largest moon of the year, called the supermoon, shined its
biggest and brightest
in nearly 70 years
early Monday morning.

Supermoons happen when the moon’s wonky elliptical orbit lines up
perfectly with those of the Earth and the sun. On November 14,
this dance of orbital physics brought the moon to within 222,000
miles of Earth — 30,000 miles closer than its most distant point
— during its full moon phase. That made our celestial neighbor
appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter than normal,
according to NASA
.

Photographers all over the world have published
fantastic images
of the event. However, one photo in
particular, which we first saw at NASA’s
Astronomy Picture of the Day site, stuck out above the rest:


supermoon space station transit kris smith

The
International Space Station transiting the fullest supermoon in
nearly 70 years.


Kris
Smith



Did you miss that?

Take a closer look at the black shadows:


supermoon space station transit kris smith labeled

The
International Space Station transiting the fullest supermoon in
nearly 70 years.

Kris Smith; Business
Insider


No, those aren’t galactic empire tie fighters from “Star
Wars
.”

That’s the International Space Station (ISS) zooming in front of
the supermoon.


international space station iss nasa
NASA

Kris Smith, the man who took the image, told Business
Insider in an email that he’d been researching the
possibility of taking this shot “for several years using
Calsky.com,” a site dedicated to
calculating unique chances to observe objects in space.

“[One] week before the ISS crossing I received an email alert and
approximate path. The path was only about 2 miles from my house,”
Smith said. “As the day grew closer I picked a location, the
local high school, and [set up] my telescope on the practice
field.”

He used an 11-inch telescope attached to a Canon 5D Mark III DSLR
camera. Because the telescope’s field of view was narrow and
couldn’t fit the full moon in a single frame, however, Smith had
to track the ISS as it moved in front of the moon at the
blistering pace of 17,500 mph.

“My great grandfather and my grandfather were early professional
photographers in Fort Worth,” Smith said. “[T]his is definitely
where my passion came from.”

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