The word occult means different things to various groups. To me, it does not mean supernatural or magical, secret or mysterious, or beyond comprehension. As an amateur astronomer, it means to be hidden from view. For an hour this morning, the Moon passed in front of, and occulted from view, the bright star Aldebaran. The star Aldebaran is the eye of Taurus the Bull, northwest of the constellation Orion.
The Moon occults a lot of stars as it orbits through the heavens. It last occulted Aldebaran on September 4 of this year. What made the occultation today unusual is that it took place in broad daylight just before 9 am CDT. That made it a challenge to see since we don’t think of stars as daytime objects. We in the midwest have been enjoying clear transparent skies the past few days. I set up the telescope for the event. The Moon was high in the blue western sky. My small camera was readied to photograph the occultation through the eyepiece.
I could easily see Aldebaran by eye through the telescope. It was about 3 minutes before occultation. I brought the camera to the eyepiece. This first photograph did not use the zoom on the camera. It was in focus.
I zoomed the camera a little to enlarge the Moon. That improved the view. Later, I cropped and enhanced the image to get this view. No doubt the star was visible.
I waited and watched through the eyepiece to see the moment light from Aldebaran disappeared. That was very cool to see. It didn’t gradually dim. It was suddenly gone.
I set the timer for an hour. It would take the Moon that long to travel in orbit and allow light from Aldebaran to reappear on the other side of the orb. It did so right on time. It is a little hard to see in the crosshairs. Click to embiggen.
This was fun to witness. Clear skies and good optics helped make it work. I hope you enjoyed it.