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: Venus is only second to the moon when it comes to the brightest object visible in the evening sky and, in fact, is also visible during the day naked-eye when sufficiently away from the sun. For this particular occultation involving the moon and Venus, the latter was characterized with an apparent diameter of 12.08 arc-seconds, a magnitude of -4.0 and a phase of 85.3% whereas the waxing 2.5-day old crescent moon was at magnitude -6.8 and with a phase of only 6.6%. A Baader UV-IR/Cut filter was used to limit the FOV to the visible spectrum.

Note: The human eye has a tendency to focus at a distance of 400 feet when focusing for "infinity". As a result, many celestial objects which are visible during the day can become a challenge due to the eye's default focusing for infinity. When the moon is near a celestial object of interest, however, the eye will easily focus properly for "infinity" when looking at the moon and which in turn will permit for the easy identification of the (neighbouring) celestial object of interest such as Venus below in broad daylight (bottom right corner of the image below).

Note: For an image immediately before disappearance, click here.
Note: For a time series illustrating disappearance and reappearance, click here.
Note: For the 2007 daytime occultation of Venus, click here, here and here.


Image Details
Selene and Aphrodite (2010)
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 16, 2010
12:34:15 UT+3
12:35:15 UT+3


Location:
Athens, Greece

Equipment:
AP 160 f/7.5 StarFire EDF
AP 1200GTO GEM
Canon EOS 5D Mk I
Baader UV/IR-Cut Filter


Exposures:
2 x 1/5000 sec
ISO 800
RAW Image Format
4368 x 2912 Image Size
Manual Mode


Software:
Digital Photo Pro V1.6.1.0
Photoshop CS2


Processing:
RAW to TIFF (16-bit) Conv
Resampling
JPG Compression