Astrophotography by Anthony Ayiomamitis

Lunar Occultation Image Gallery

Although occultations can occur in a variety of ways, the heavenly body most often involved is our moon which inevitably will occult (or eclipse) background stars, other planets as well as asteroids. The study of occultations is important, for example, for the study of the moon's limb and its profile thanks to the grazing of lunar features such as mountains.

What is perhaps more interesting but not as frequent is occultations involving the moon and one of the planets. Typically the planets involved are Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Due to the great magnitude difference between the moon (any phase) and any of these planets, the photography of these events can be challenging.

Without doubt, the most stunning example of the moon occulting another body is that involving the sun which, of course, leads to a solar eclipse. This special example of an occultation is available elsewhere on this site.

Note: The mid-day sun was less than 25 to the east of both the moon and Venus. Setting circles were calibrated on the filtered sun (RA: 03h 54m 22s Dec: 20 18' 23") and used thereafter to locate and image the occultation of Venus (RA: 05h 41m 37s Dec: 26 44' 34"). Venus was characterized with an apparent diameter of 49.80 arc-seconds, a magnitude of -4.4 and a phase of 10.0% whereas the waxing 2-day old crescent moon was at magnitude -6.4 and with a phase of only 4.7%.

Image Details
Venus Occultation - 2004-05-21: Disappearance
Imaging Details
Body:
Venus

Mean Distance (A.U.):
0.723

Equatorial Diam (km):
12,104

Mass:
0.82 x Earth

Volume:
0.86 x Earth

Orbital Period:
224.701 days

Number of Moons:
0

Orbital Eccentricity:
0.007

Orbital Inclination:
3.4

Albedo:
0.65
Date:
May 21, 2004
14:35:00 - 14:37:15 UT+3


Location:
Athens, Greece

Equipment:
Celestron 14" SCT
Losmandy G-11 GEM
Canon EOS 300d
Baader IR-Cut Filter (1.25")


Exposures:
7 x 1/3200 sec
ISO 800
RAW Image Format
3072 x 2048 Image Size
Manual Mode


Software:
Canon FileViewer V1.3.2
Photoshop V6


Processing:
RAW to TIFF (16-bit) Conv
Levels & Curves
Masks & Layers
Resampling
JPG Compression