Colin Legg in Perth, Australia was kind enough to share this wonderful real-time video of the moon passing in front of Saturn on Saturday, February 22, 2014. In the parlance of astronomers, this event is known as an occultation.
It looks at though Saturn is passing behind bright limb of the moon. In fact, it’s the moon’s own motion that causes the occultation to take place. In other words, early Saturday morning, Saturn happened to lie in the moon’s path as the moon was pursing its regular monthly orbit around Earth. And so the moon covered up Saturn, for a time.
The occultation of Saturn could be seen only from certain parts of Earth: Madagascar, most of Australia and New Zealand. Thanks to Colin Legg, the rest of us can enjoy it. He provided these details:
Captured from Perth, Western Australia, just on dawn.
Equipment: Celestron C8, f/10, prime focus. Canon 5D2, running Magic Lantern RAW video firmware in 3x crop mode @ 1880 x 1056 resolution. 1/60 sec exposure, ISO 200, 10 fps.
Wondering how Saturn and the moon looked from other parts of the world on this Saturday dawn, February 22, 2014? See the photo and chart below. For most of us, by the time dawn came on Saturday, the moon in its orbit of Earth had already moved beyond Saturn. Thus the two appeared some distance apart in Saturday morning.
Bottom line: Colin Legg in Australia shared this wonderful video of the moon passing in front of Saturn on Saturday, February 22, 2014. In the parlance of astronomers, this event is known as an occultation.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.