Or, more accurately, watch the Moon pass in front of Saturn. Either way you get the same result: a beautiful video of planetary motion in action!
On the morning of Saturday, Feb. 22, the Moon drifted in front of the planet Saturn from the point of view of certain locations on Earth. Luckily one of those locations was Perth, Australia, where astrophotographer Colin Legg happens to be, and thus we all get to enjoy the fantastic results of his photographic and astronomical acumen.
Check out the video below:
The occultation — as such events are called whenever one celestial object passes in front of, or “hides,” another (the root of the word means “to conceal”) — may make it look like a tiny Saturn is getting absorbed by a giant Moon. But (obviously) they are separated by a vast distance: at the time of the occultation, 9.658 AU, or about 1,444,816,000 kilometers (897.7 million miles).
These sort of events will become a bit more common as the Moon is “headed towards a ‘shallow’ year in 2015 relative to the ecliptic; it will then begin to slowly open back up and ride high around 2025,” according to a recent Universe Today article by David Dickinson.
For those of you interested, Colin lists his equipment as a Celestron C8, f/10, prime focus. His camera is a Canon 5D2, running Magic Lantern RAW video firmware in 3x crop mode @ 1880 x 1056 resolution. Footage was taken at 1/60 sec exposure, ISO 200, 10 fps.
See more of Colin’s work on his Facebook page here.
Video/image credit: Colin Legg. All rights reserved. Used with permission.