In the night to the 6th November 2017 I was able to observe the occultation of the 0.87 Magnitude star Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) by the moon. The time of the occultation was really not comfortable in the middle of the night between 3.55 am and 4.35 am. But due to the reason that occultations with such bright stars not happen so often, I used my alarm clock to wake up. It rang then at 3.15 am and the first view out of the windows showed the moon surrounded by some higher clouds. I went outside and the Maksutov telescope fast was rady for having a first wonderful view of the moon and the bright star.
The first pictures that I captured as at 3.33 am while the bright star was just about 0°22′ seperated by the moon. With a height of 51° above the horizon the moon was comfortably high at the night sky and I was able to observe this occultation from the inner courtyard. Aldebaran then got more and more closer to the moon. Until 3.49 am I documented this with several pictures which showed the star with just about 0°17′ distance to the center of the moon. Next I recorded a video sequence which showed the beginning and first contact of this occultation at 3.55 am. Unfortunately there were some reflection into the lenses. While the star now stayed covered by the moon I used the time to make some close-up images of the moon. But also some clouds passed in front of the moon while I was waiting for the second contact, when the star gets visible again.
Then it was time for the second contact at 4.20 am when the star will appear again – hopefully. Also that event I wanted to record by video because now on the shows side of the moon it would have been much more interesting with all these craters and structures there. Of course the sar appeared again, but the weather had other plans. Just about 5 minutes before the star would have appeared again, there appeared some higher but unfortunately compact clouds who covered the moon almost completely. It was very unlucky because sometimes the clouds even covered the moon completely and I was just able to make a not nice picture at 4.31 am through the clouds. It took longer time until the clouds moved away and at 4.50 am the moon was better visible again. But also after that there appeared more clouds sometimes – but showing also beautiful colours while passing the moon. Of course I stayed some longer time outside to enjoy the colours, the moon and also the bright star while it seems to move away from the moon. It was not a perfect but nevertheless very nice observation of this occultation.
Here some pictures which I was able to capture during the observation:
(© Frank Rinas)