Occultation | Moon Covers Venus

Mid-day December 7, 2015, the Moon passed in front of Venus for about 90 minutes. Few saw the daytime event with their naked eyes. Live stream of the occultation by the Lafayette Science Museum in Louisiana made this video possible. Thanks to Paul McCasland at the museum for permission to use the video here.

I had planned for the past 6 weeks to record the event myself. The weather forecast a few days before showed a high probability of mostly clear skies. But, a frontal passage that day kept it overcast until 15 minutes after occultation ended. An online search located the live stream from the museum above. I captured the moments on my screen when Venus was occulted and when it re-appeared.

Start of Occultation – 2 minutes

Notice the lack of contrast of the Moon against the blue sky. We are used to seeing a bright Moon on a dark night sky. Daytime views are missing that contrast. The telescope tracked the motion of the Moon to keep it centered. The split-screen magnified view on the right also magnified atmospheric effects making Venus shimmer and dance.


End of Occultation – 2 minutes

The telescope aim drifted slightly during the 90 minute wait for the occultation to end. The Moon had descended lower toward the western horizon and was more difficult to see. At the moment Venus re-emerged it was slightly off-screen at the top. The operator manually adjusted and brought it more to center after about a minute and a half.


Jet Airliner Flyby – 13 seconds

The museum continued to broadcast during the 90 minute interval. I happened to look at the screen for a few seconds when a jet airliner flew across the field of view.


4 thoughts on “Occultation | Moon Covers Venus

  1. Very cool. The flyby was a fun addition. I’ve noticed over the past week that we’re finally seeing very high contrails. There may not be any cold air down here at the surface, but “up there,” it’s a different story.

    Too bad you had overcast skies for the event, but it’s great that you can make use of technology to see what’s happening in a different way.


  2. Nice Job Mr. Jim.. Did you grab your clips from the video file or were they from your screen capture? Please take a look at our Lunar Eclipse youtube video from September.. Thanks you for what you do….


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