Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jupiter occultation summary

Jupiter occultation stood up to my expectations. I didn't set up anything in advance due to the weather, I just got all the equipment ready and outside the house. I set up the alarm clock for 3am and tried to get in a few ours of sleep. When the alarm went off, I went out to see the moon which just rose in the north-east. Even with the naked eye the view was fascinating, and Jupiter was very near to the edge of the moon. I set up everything and then Venus rose as well. Venus showed a lovely crescent phase! Then all there was to do was to take pictures and wait. The weather was clear but humidity was very high. I used two telescopes: one for viewing (a small refractor with x100 magnification) and another one for photos and video (Bresser N130 with Philips SPC 900 Webcam).
The following pictures show the first part the disappearance. It happened so quickly that you can easily miss it. I just pressed the button to take the video and moved to the other telescope for visual observation. It took around 80 seconds and it seemed just like the moon swallowed Jupiter.
Jupiter occultation
Jupiter occultation
And the video (I was some seconds too late to start it, sorry)

But don't worry, it came back after an hour, you might even see the famous earth shine
Jupiter occultation
And as dawn arrived I took a photo of the general view of the sky with the moon, Jupiter and Venus just before sunrise. I followed Jupiter to see how long after sunrise I could see it with the naked eye. Since it was so close to the moon it was relatively easy to see it even 25 minutes AFTER sunrise.
The moon Jupiter and Venus
The moon Jupiter and Venus (bottom) after the occultation
And another bonus was that at 5:40am I saw the live launch of Soyuz for the ISS over the internet.