Moon Occults β Scorpii | 21 Sep 2020

Beta Scorpii (β Scorpii, Beta Sco, β Sco) is in the southern zodiac constellation of Scorpius. It is also labeled as Graffias in this star chart. The Moon passed in front of the star and hid it from view for about an hour. During the hour before occultation, I photographed the Moon and Beta Scorpii at 10 minute intervals using the same zoom and exposure settings. Photoshop Elements was used to merge the series of images showing the progress of the Moon as it neared the star. Disappearance was at about 8:42 pm. Reappearance was 9:40.

Our skies in Iowa have been filtered with smoke and haze from fires in the western states. The Moon and Beta Scorpii were already low in the southwest during the hour before occultation. The Moon was tinted orange. I hoped to also photograph the emergence of Beta Scorpii on the right side of the Moon after occultation. But, the pair was only 5˚ above the horizon. They had disappeared in the hazy atmosphere. During several recent sunsets, the Sun has turned very red-orange and faded from sight before it actually reached the horizon.

Very Old Waning Crescent Moon

It was just after 6 am on 16 September. The Sun barely brightened the sky in the east. A thin haze was in the air from forest fires to the west. I live in Iowa. We have had several days of filtered light through the smoke and haze. The Sun rises and sets very orange. On this morning I hoped to photograph the thinnest crescent moon I had ever seen. It was only 24 hours before the next new moon.

I had been up since 5:30 with binoculars scanning the sky close to the horizon. At 6:07 am I spotted the thin crescent through the haze only 5˚ above the horizon. I grabbed several shots then watched as it rose and the sky brightened. Soon the Moon disappeared in the bright sky.

Waning Moon | 28.4 days | 1.44% Illuminated | ISO 1600 | 1 sec

Daytime Mars With Moon

It was 6:22 am CDT. Sunrise was 6:09. I stepped outside with binoculars to see if Mars was visible near the Moon. Yes, it was easy to see. The Moon will be near Venus the morning of 15 August.

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS | ISO 100 | 1/40 sec

Venus Moon Size Comparison

On the morning of 17 June 2020, the Moon presented this nice crescent. The camera was at full zoom.

Eight days later, Venus presented in the same place at the same time with the same crescent shape. The camera was again at full zoom. The images are to scale.