Gigglebit: When a plane flies into the sun … sort of

3 Jan 2015

Coronal mass ejection. Image via SOHO Consortium, ESA, NASA

Gigglebit is Siliconrepublic’s daily dose of the funny and fantastic in science and tech, to help start your day on a lighter note.

As far as photography goes, the field of astrophotography is arguably the most impressive when your subjects are billions of years old, are incomprehensibly large, and lie further than you’ll ever expect to go in a lifetime.

One snapshot taken early last month that amazed online viewers was taken by astrophotographer Michael Sanders in Bangkok, Thailand. He snapped a commercial jet liner flying past the sun, making the aircraft seem almost insignificant in comparison.

Also visible in the photo is a sun spot, specifically sun spot group AR 2192. Sanders had taken the photo when Earth-bound astronomers were regularly noting sun spot and solar-flare activity.

Speaking of his picture, Sanders admitted he hadn’t timed it on purpose.

“I had just set up my telescope, focused it, then snapped off a couple of photos in quick succession while waiting for the clouds to pass, and a plane goes past.”

Image via Michael Sanders/

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic