Amateur Astronomer Captures Stunning Images of Atlantis, Hubble in the Face of the Sun

It's difficult to imagine a more epic scene, but this photo has modest origins: amateur Astronomer Thierry Legault shot it with nothing but his own telescope, a solar prism and a Canon 5D Mk II.

Shot just after launch, the image shows the faraway scene as viewed through a Takahashi TOA-130 refractor telescope (focal length 2200mm) and a Baader solar prism, which gives the Sun its muted look. Strapped to the back of the telescope, the 5D was set to ISO 100 and a 1/8000 shutter speed, the camera's extreme low and high settings, respectively [Edit: woops, the Mk II actually does ISO 50]. Legault used the free online Celestial Observer tool to calculate the best time to shoot from his location.

Amateur Astronomer Captures Stunning Images of Atlantis, Hubble in the Face of the Sun

Meanwhile, that little silhouette is the scene of an incredibly complex and dangerous Hubble rescue mission, which will repair a number of the craft's instruments, install a new camera and ensure that NASA's flagship orbital telescope keeps sending us amazing images for years to come.

Check out the unbelievable uncropped photos at Legault's site. —Note: It should be obvious, but don't try anything like this unless you know exactly what you're doing. Your eyes, they will burn. [Thierry Legault via Daily Mail]