See the moon photobomb saturn in an amazing capture
Welcome to Saturn as you've probably never seen it. It's always awe-inspiring to see the clockwork motion of the heavens transpire in real time. In a slow motion universe, occultations give us the chance to see the cosmos pull off a celestial hat-trick. This can appear as a split second-type of event—such as when the moon, a planet or an asteroid winks out a distant star—or transpire as a leisurely affair as the moon covers, then uncovers the disk of a planet.
We're in the midst of just such a series of occultations this year, as the moon passes in front of the planet Saturn for every lunation in 2019. Astrophotographer Cory Schmitz based in South Africa captured one of the best of the bunch during the recent March 31st occultation of Saturn by the moon, with stunning results.
But it wasn't easy. Ingress, marking the beginning of the occultation, occurred before sunrise, as the 40 percent illuminated waning crescent moon passed in front of the ringed planet… but the end of the event at egress occurred after sunrise, against a low contrast blue sky.
"What a view it was!" Cory (photographingspace.com) says on his Instagram account. "I love these astro events: they get my blood pumping."
We can attest to just how hard it is to see +0.6 magnitude Saturn near the daytime moon, even with optical assistance. Venus and Jupiter are much easier targets, and the moon makes a great visual aid when the moon is nearby as a guide. We've even managed to see stars such as +0.8 magnitude Aldebaran near the moon using binoculars, just before a daytime occultation.