That’s not the mark of Zorro slashed across the moon. If you look closely—no, closer—that little spec in the middle is actually the International Space Station. Pretty spectacular, no? The scale is absolutely phenomenal; the ISS is about the size of a football field, so it gives you an idea of moon’s relatively small stature.
Taken by senior NASA photographer Bill Ingalls, the image captured the ISS crossing the moon’s face at about 5 miles per second. Not 5 miles per hour; 5 miles per second. That gave Ingalls the briefest of windows to capture the spacecraft.
Even more spectacular about the image is the kind of conditions that are necessary to get a clear shot. You need to have a clear sky, of course, but also the patience to sit there until the ISS comes zooming across the sky. Five miles per second is remarkably fast—but at that size and that distance, if you blink it’ll be gone.
A similar image was actually captured back in July, and that one was a little more defined as to what you’re looking at. What makes this one so cool is that the space station’s silhouette looks like a tiny Z, almost like a reminder of human ingenuity stamped on the moon’s cratered face.