Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Lunar Pleiades Occultation

Lunar Pleiades Occultation March 3 2009 2:01 am

Oh...... what a beautiful sight. The clouds broke for me once again last night for the awesome gathering of the Moon and Pleiades star cluster. The Occultation started with the Moon covering the star Electra at exactly 2:01 am March 3.

Had my doubts throughout the day as the weather channel was going between clear skies and snow,but in the end clear skies prevailed and allowed me to view and image the gathering. The image above was taken at 9:30 pm cst.

As the night got older the Moon drew closer to the cluster. Due to the relative motions of the Earth and the Moon, the Moon appears to go backwards or retrograde when compared to the starry background, why you see in these images, the Moon getting closer to the cluster,to finally occult, or cover some of it's members.

Getting closer,

And closer,

Closer still,

Finally occultation.

Just off to the left, Orion the Mighty Hunter was setting as well, kind of leaves a guy speechless. To be alone under the stars that night was just too much for me to even begin to put into words, so I won't.

Next gathering of these two will be April 26. Look to the west just after Sunset. This time Mercury joins the grouping. Do yourself a favor and get some binoculars, to see the Moon, Pleiades and Mercury in close proximity with binocs will be something you will not soon forget.

I'll leave you now with one of my first images animated, it was cool how the clouds opened just for a minute to allow the Pleiades to peek through.


Genie said...

Wow, you got it and you got it GOOD! GORGEOUS! I tried and tried and tried but for some reason, last night, my camera just could NOT see the Pleiades near the moon. But you totally nailed it, as usual. I really enjoyed your photos of the event.

I'm glad the night was so perfect for you.

I think I'm just going to start calling you Amazin' Bob.

Stephanie said...

These are absolutely gorgeous pictures! I love the ones with the moon and clouds together, but there isn't a picture here that I didn't adore.

Swubird said...


Oh man...too bad. Just as the last minute the clouds moved in. But great shots anyway.

You, my friend, are definitely a night owl. Two AM, really. I am sawing logs by that time.

I'll keep and eyeball peeled on April 25 around sunset. There's lots of buildings in my way, but maybe I'll get lucky.

Happy stargazing.

Daisy said...

More amazing photos! I think the clouds in the first photo make that one extra-special.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol thanks Genie,I checked your web site to see if you got any pics before I went to print,too bad.It was quite away to start with, you probably didn't have a wide enough view. Better luck on the 26th of April.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Stephanie, I wish you could have been there to see them in person, they were beautiful.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, hey swubird I took the next day off, didn't get to bed till 5 am, good luck with the clouds on the 26th.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Daisy,the clouds always add a lot to sky images, this was no exception.\m/\m/

Dr. Lauren said...

Wow, this is fantastic Bob. I am learning so much from you.

Don said...

i look forward to seeing the Pleiades and Orion the most. Thanks for the pics and the education

kRiZ cPEc said...

great images, thanks for sharing

Roger said...

Awesome shots Bob my man! I knew you would come through. To much cloud cover here drat! Rain rain rain.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Dr.Lauren,cool you are enjoying the site.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Don, and no problem.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks kRiZ cPEc, glad you like the images.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Roger, too bad about the clouds, better luck on the 26th of April.\m/\m/

Ivanhoe said...

I'm glad the weather cooperated after all. These are awesome!

Final_Transit said...

Hi Bob, Beautiful pictures. It's like natural photoshop... lol! How did you survive such a long time in cold (I presume you had to take your gloves off)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Ivanhoe.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Priyank, actually was only -10c, not bad, but there was a cold wind, and yes the gloves came off, and the fingers were cold.\m/\m/

TatianaV said...

These captures are really worth some big WOW's Bob! Amazing work my friend, and thank you for sharing the beauties of the skies with us here... AMAZING how you captured the Pleiades with the Moon, and thanks to the night owl in you from the night owl in me ;)

Peter said...

Hi Bob! Great shots but I was expecting to see a picture of that big bloody rock that almost wiped the earth out a couple of days ago! Where were you? In your bunker! Wouldn't blame you if you were!

Take Care,

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Tatiana, nice to see someone else is a night owl,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks Peter, no pic of the asteroid, apparently it looked like fast moving star from the ground with the naked eye. I was in my house not knowing what was going on, like everyone else.\m/\m/

Lynda Lehmann said...

Fascinating post and wonderful presentation, Bob. I can feel your excitement!

Egad, don't you EVER sleep? :)

Beautiful and inspiring...

Marvin the Martian said...

Wonderful photo sequence! So clear. Great job!

A friend of mine saw a UFO today (noon-time) but I missed it, though she pointed it out to me. I will have to write about it.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks so much Lynda,lol.

No rest for me when there are awesome celestial events like this one going on, play now, sleep later,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Marvin, that is too cool about the UFO, I hope you post about it.\m/\m/

PaulsHealthBlog.com said...

That is such a neat picture of the sun reflecting off of the moon!

And what a clear night!


Eat Well. Live Well.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Paul, it sure is, thanks for dropping by.\m/\m/

betchai said...

wow, another set of amazing pictures. and how the clouds parted just to give you a chance to take those pictures really is amazing, and thanks always for the educational input you bring in.

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Bob Johnson said...

Thanks a lot betchai, it was quite remarkable how the clouds did part just for a minute for me to be able to get the Pleiades.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks zulhusni for linking to me, I will be over to take a look at your site.\m/\m/

Ruth said...

Oh Bob! I'm so happy for you. It must have been just incredible. These images are AWESOME. That moonglow is just the coolest.

Ok my words aren't very helpful.

And how nice that your virtual snow doesn't require clouds, so I can see your images! ;D

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks Ruth, virtual snow is okay by me.\m/\m/

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Thats a very interesting post. I have been inspired. Thanks.

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