Lunar Occultation of the magnitude 1 star Spica timed during its disappearance and reappearance using a 4-inch f/9 refractor, a Meade electronic eyepiece, an IOTA-Video Time Inserter, and a Canon ZR80 video camera recorder. The time of disappearance occurred at 8:50 pm while the reappearance occurred at 9:53 pm, as observed from the PAGASA Observatory on March 28, 2013. A lunar occultation occurs when a celestial object (like the Sun, a star, or a planet) is blocked from our view by our closest neighbor, the moon. Timing lunar occultations help astronomers refine our current knowledge of the lunar topography.
Here’s an image taken shortly after the star’s reappearance from the moon’s dark limb, captured using a 4-inch f/9 refractor and a Canon 450D DSLR, 1/500 sec exposure, ISO 400. Photo Credit: Anthony Urbano
Lunar Occultation of Spica March 28, 2013
For more images of lunar occultations, click here.
The International Space Station (ISS) currently orbiting approximately 400 kilometers above the Earth’s surface will treat us with a spectacular sight on November 3, 2012, as it zooms past above the Philippines. The satellite will be visible to us because its solar panels will be geometrically well-placed to reflect sunlight towards the ground, acting like giant space mirrors. From the ground, it will look like a very bright flare coming from the northwestern horizon and then slowly (much like an airplane) move towards the southeastern horizon until it disappears from view. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes, from 06:10:29 pm to 06:19:09 pm and will be visible to the naked eye. No special equipment is required to observe the satellite flyby. (Predictions updated as of 1 pm, November 3, 2012.)
Predictions courtesy of Heavens-Above, developed and maintained by Chris Peat.
Those with cameras and telephoto lenses may attempt to image the satellite and detect structure, similar to the photo below.
Image of the International Space Station (ISS) as it passes 450 km above Manila at 4:59:01 am, March 15, 2012. The main body and the solar panels of the satellite are visible in this photo. 4-in f/9 refractor, Canon 450D, ISO 1600, 1/100 sec exposure. This is my second attempt in capturing the ISS. Photo credit: Anthony Urbano (Click on the photo for a higher-resolution view).
Related links: International Space Station, Iridium Satellite Flares
Sky-Watcher Equinox 100 ED, Meade electronic eyepiece, IOTA-Video Time Inserter, Canon ZR80 video recorder. Disappearance occurred at 13:23:19.3254 UT, as observed from Manila, Philippines. For more images of lunar occultations, click here.
I started setting up my equipment at around 1 am at the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory in preparation for the relatively rare lunar occultation involving Jupiter and 4 of its brightest satellites, an event which also coincided with the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Fellow astronomy enthusiasts from the UP Astronomical Society and also some walk-in guests were there to observe. Read more.
Jupiter a few minutes before it disappears behind the moon on August 12, 2012 as observed from Quezon City, Philippines. This image is a post-processed screenshot taken from the video timer setup.
A copy of the certificate issued to the members of the Gallia expedition
The Gallia asteroid occultation expedition last October 2010 is research project in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society, the International Occultation Timing Association, and the Philippine Astronomical Society. For the full observation report, click here.