A Lunar occultation of the planet Venus

There was an interesting astronomical phenomenon that occurred a few days ago that was worth viewing. On that morning, the crescent moon slowly moved towards and then in front of the planet Venus. This is known as a lunar occultation. For several hours that morning, folks could look up in the sky and quickly spot the crescent moon and then, a moment later, the bright point of light that was Venus.

Venus is bright enough to be seen in the daytime sky but is usually hard to locate. When it is near the moon—as it was on that morning—it becomes much easier.

I took a series of photographs every few minutes as the two celestial bodies drew closer together until, finally, the moon slid in front of Venus. It actually took about 30 seconds for the moon to move completely across the disk of Venus and, as it did so, the bright point of light grew dimmer until it blinked out.

A few hours later, the process reversed itself as the moon moved away and Venus appeared on the other side.

Lunar occulation of Venus.
Lunar occulation of Venus.

While I was taking images, I also had a pair of binoculars set up on a tripod and invited others to look through and view the pair. Most did not know that Venus could be seen in the day. All were amazed at the sight through the binoculars.

The images presented here were taken about 5 minutes before occultation, beginning of occultation, and a few minutes after Venus reappeared.