Luckiest Photo Ever: The Moon, Jupiter … and More

by Nancy Atkinson on February 19, 2013

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'Fly Me to the Moons' -- a view of the Moon with Jupiter and three Galilean moons, along with a passing airplane. Credit and copyright: Greg Gibbs.

‘Fly Me to the Moons’ — a view of the Moon with Jupiter and three Galilean moons, along with a passing airplane. Credit and copyright: Greg Gibbs.

“No matter how much you plan and prepare,” said photographer Greg Gibbs, “sometimes you just have to be very lucky.”

As we mentioned last week, Jupiter and the Moon were going to have a close encounter in the sky on February 18, with an occultation visible in some areas. And so Gibbs was preparing to get shots of the occultation through his telescope from his location in Victoria, Australia, and was using an automated timer to get shots at about 10 second intervals But then he noticed lights from a plane coming close to the Moon.

“I realised that there was a chance that it would pass in front of the Moon,” he said, “so I quickly canceled the remote timer I was using to take the shots and instead started shooting high speed continuous frames. I managed to get this plane crossing the moon in five individual frames just as Jupiter was about to be occulted by The Moon.”

This final product, as Gibbs notes on his Facebook page, is a two image composite. The Moon, Jupiter and the plane are all one single image. Then he took an overexposed image to bring up the Galilean Moons of (from left to right) Io, Callisto and Europa. At the time of this shot, Ganymede had already been occulted by The Moon.

There’s the old saying, “If you can’t be good, be lucky…”

This shot may have been lucky, but it sure is good, too!

See more of Gibbs astrophotography at his website, Capturing the Night.

Additionally, Peter Lake from Australia put together this video from last night’s occultation:

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About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Aqua4U February 19, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Mare Crisium looks up-side-down from my N. hemisphere vantage point. Either that or the jet is flying inverted!

Sam West February 19, 2013 at 8:21 PM

That’s because it’s being viewed in a telescope and the mirror is reversing the image.

Aqua4U February 20, 2013 at 12:36 AM

Nope… Check out the ‘phase of the moon’ ap. above. You will notice that Mare Crisium is on the upper right. as viewed from the N. Hemisphere with binoculars or naked eye.. and the jet would be flying up-side-down. That shot is from ‘down under’ mate!

gopher652003 February 20, 2013 at 12:42 AM

So, what, is this a fake image?

Aqua4U February 20, 2013 at 12:44 AM

No… simply a matter of orientation in Southern vs. Northern hemisphere. (The image IS flipped L/R, not Up/Down flipped)

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE February 20, 2013 at 8:41 PM

That’s because the dude, who took the picture, resides in the land Down Under .

Carlos Orue February 20, 2013 at 1:12 AM

You’re almost right, the image is not flipped left to right, it is what it is. This is exactly how the moon looks naked eye in this particlar phase from the Southern Hemisphere with the exception that this image is at a focal length of 600mm give or take.

Aqua4U February 20, 2013 at 1:26 AM

THAT was my first take.. then subsequent statements made me think I was wrong… dzzzz.

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