Bad Astronomy

The Moon ate Saturn!

Via the Lunar Picture of the Day comes this astonishing image from Peter Lawrence, an accomplished astrophotographer:

The Moon passed in front of Saturn as seen from England the other day, and Peter was on it. It was what’s called a “grazing occultation”, since Saturn wasn’t completely eclipsed by the Moon. For my money it’s cooler than a full-on occultation! Peter took a series of images and superposed them to get this shot.

FYI, the Moon doesn’t pass directly in front of the planets very often, though it’s not what I would call really rare. The planets orbit the Sun in roughly (but not exactly) the same plane, and the Moon is a close to that plane as well – but again, not exactly on it. So we don’t get occultations like this every month, but they do happen. Aren’t they wonderful?

Give Peter’s site a tour. You’ll be amazed at what he has done.