On Dec. 7th, the International Space Station (ISS) flew over Beijing, China--and right by the planet Saturn. Three astronomers, Xiang Zhan, Xin Li and Jin Zhu of the Beijing Planetarium, photographed the encounter through a 4-inch telescope:
"Although the two objects looked so close," says Zhan, "the ISS was about 400 kilometers above us while Saturn was over 1.3 billion kilometers from Earth."
Their video illustrates something not widely known: The ISS looks wonderful through a backyard telescope. Solar wings and living quarters are clear and distinct. Seen from Earth, the station is wider than the rings of Saturn!