Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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|ISS Solar Transit 2|
Title text: Most people don't realize it, but they actually launch a new space station every few weeks because this keeps happening.
|| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
This Friday comic is a continuation of the Monday comic from the same week, 1828: ISS Solar Transit, where Cueball was preparing his camera in order to try an capture the transit of the International Space Station (ISS) across the Sun. The comic is also made in the same special way using split panels.
However, instead of transiting across the face of the sun, the ISS crashes into the Sun. In reality, of course, this can never happen, because the ISS orbits Earth at an altitude of between 330 and 435 km, while the Earth orbits the Sun at an altitude of about 149.60 million kilometers or 1 astronomical unit. This means the minimum distance between the ISS and the Sun is only slightly less than 1 AU. Also, due to parallax, only people in a very localized region on earth are able to see the ISS "hit" the sun. For all others the ISS would travel past the sun.
Additionally, even if the ISS would somehow impact the sun, it would not make a noticeable splash, due to being incredibly tiny compared to the sun. It would get vaporized before reaching it. (See the what if? Tungsten Countertop. And it would make no "Fwoosh" sound to be hears on Earth, primarily because there's a lot of empty space between Earth and the Sun, and sound cannot propagate in empty space.
The title text plays on the event in the comic, by saying that a new space station is being launched every few week as the event of the comic keeps happening, so a continuation of ISS'es gets destroyed by crashing into the Sun on a regular basis. This is clearly implausible, as it has taken many years to build up the ISS, and there are at least three astronauts on board that would get killed a couple of times a month.
As a noted in the first comic in the ISS series the white balance is still not set properly, because the sun looks orange instead of white/yellow.
- [Every panel is split into two half height panels above each other.]
- [The top panel shows an image of an orange sun on a black background with a dot marked ISS in a cross-hair and a trail.]
- [In the bottom panel Cueball is kneeling in front of a small platform while operating a camera with a very long objective while holding a smartphone. The camera is angled sharply upward toward the sky as it is attached to a tripod standing on the platform.]
- Cueball: Perfect! Transit in three... two...
- [The dot marked as ISS moves closer to the sun]
- Cueball: ...one...
- [The dot plunges into the sun]
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