On the evening of March 4th, 2017, stargazers were treated to an occultation of the star Aldebaran as the Moon passed in front of it from our perspective.

I was setup to do other imaging on this clear night and took some time to swing the telescope over to this pairing in the cold crisp night sky. The “seeing” which is a measure of the atmospheric steadiness, was not that good but on the flip side of Winter now, it was nice to have a clear night. November to March here is cloudy season for sure.

This video was taken using an ASI1600MM-C camera which is really quite remarkable since it can do both Lunar/Planetary imaging/recording like this video demonstrates. It can also do long exppsure deep sky imaging of faint nebula, galaxies and star clusters.

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William Optics Zenithstar 71 Telescope and SBIG 8300M CCD with FLI filter wheel
My William Optics Zenithstar 71mm refractor seen here in 2014 with an SBIG8300M and filter wheel attached.

The camera was attached to my William Optics Zenithstar 71 Refractor with the WO .8x reducer/flattener. Since the ASI1600MM-C is a monochrome camera, I shot this video through the red filter (which is held inside the Xagyl electronic filter wheel) and this helped to better control the brightness of the Moon, reducing the intensity during exposure, so some of the lunar landscape features are visible as well, along with Aldebaran.

I noted that Aldebaran appeared to phase in and out twice as if the light from the star was being blocked momentarily by lunar mountain ranges. Not sure if that was the case. Will have to see what others think.

I will say Aldebaran vanished behind the Moon quickly; like a flash and then it was gone.

An interesting night sky event to watch!




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