Occultation | Moon Hides Aldebaran Again

The Moon is in the midst of a series of 49 monthly occultations of the star Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus the Bull to the upper right of Orion the Hunter. The alignment of the axis of the lunar orbit with the location of Aldebaran is giving monthly occultations from January 2015. Most don’t occur many times in any one location for Earthling viewers. About half of them are daytime events. (I’ve seen them…very cool.) The last occultation of this series will occur September 2018. The next series is from 2033 to 2037.

As midnight approached on the evening of the 18th, I was thrilled to see clear skies overhead. With camera on the tripod, I set them on the front porch for this pairing at 11:15 pm CDT. All images can be embiggened for more detail.

11:15 pm CDT | Yellow line traces expected path of Aldebaran

11:15 pm CDT | Yellow line traces expected path of Aldebaran

An hour later, I returned to the front porch and zoomed in for a larger view.

12:16 am

12:16 am

The time of actual occultation was to be about 12:37 am. I captured three more views as Aldebaran drew closer to the limb of the Moon. Note the time below each image.

12:35 am

12:35 am

12:36:46 am

12:36:46 am

12:37:10 am

12:37:10 am

Aldebaran was to emerge from behind the Moon at about 1:15 am. I got the camera ready and waited. It blinked on. I immediately got the image. It was right on schedule.

1:14:52 am

1:14:52 am

Here is a compilation of positions with the yellow line superimposed. Many times, interesting events are spoiled by clouds, extreme cold, mosquitoes, or timing. This one was ideal in every aspect but one. I never stay up that late. It was great fun to witness the clockwork of the heavens.

2016_1018occultsummary

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13 thoughts on “Occultation | Moon Hides Aldebaran Again

  1. According to NASA, the moon does have an atmosphere of some odd gasses, although it is 13 orders of magnitude thinner than Earth’s. I was interested to see from your photos that there was no apparent distortion of the star as it touched the limb. Excellent photography, Jim.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes in the dead of winter, I make a quick trip to the mailbox at the end of the drive without a coat or hat. If I lived on the Moon, I would have to be very quick about it and hold my breath. I might not make it back. 😦

      Thank you, Jim. I appreciate your careful observations.

      Like

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