Selene and Aphrodite in Waltz


Dear Group,

Thanks to pristine weather conditions on Monday, I had the privilege and thrill of observing and imaging my second occultation during the past three years involving two of the three brightest objects in the sky. In spite of the fact that the occultation of Venus by the 3.5-day old moon occured during the day (similar to the May/2004 event), these two bright celestial bodies were easily visible both naked-eye as well as through the telescope's humble finderscope.

Venus is currently at 26.39 arc-seconds and growing as it approaches opposition later this summer. With a magnitude of -4.4 and a phase of 44.1%, it is an easy target to locate during the day and, particularly, when the moon is nearby so that proper focusing by our eye against the blue sky (for true infinity) becomes feasible. Through a telescope, even the telescope's finderscope, Venus and its approximate first-quarter phase are easily discernible.

Similarly, the 3.5-day old waning moon was also a pleasant site through the telescope's finderscope with the thin crescent moon meticulously bathed against the rich blue sky. Its milky white surface allowed the identification of many major lunar features associated with the eastern quadrant including Mare Crisium being the most dominant due to its proximity to the lunar terminator.

Please find listed below three links which depict Monday's celestial waltz. The first link is with Venus just to the east of the transparent lunar limb seconds before first contact and disappearance. Similarly, the second link is with Venus just past the western lunar limb seconds after reappearance 80 minutes later. The third and final link is a collage of the first two images which beautifully illustrates yesterday's disappearance and reappearance. (same event also during the day in May/2004)

Imaging during the day is somewhat challenging and requires careful processing due to the low inherent contrast.

Clear skies.


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