Earthmoon occults Venus on December 01, 2008

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On the early evening of December 01, 2008 the Earthmoon occulted planet Venus. Such events happen relative rare and so they are observed and recorded accurate and with highly interest by astronomers.

The next occultation of Venus by the Earthmoon that will be observable in Austria will happen on April 06, 2016 at about 08:30 UTC on the southeast sky.

Because I wanted to record a star occultation by the asteroid Eurynome shortly after the Venus occultation too an observation point near Kotzendorf on the Manhartsberg was chosen for observing. According the calculations the shadow of the asteroid should move there over the landscape. To measure the body form and the orbit around the sun exactly also other astronomers from Austria, Germany, France, Spain and Italy were participating on this observation.

Sadly the weather was very bad on this evening and in Kotzendorf worse than at home in Nonndorf. Very gusty wind and a nearly total covered sky was the situation during setup of equipment beside Kotzendorf. And this situation did not change in the next hours. So I could make only some images from the observation place and from the clouded sky. Many of the recorded video images are dark and unusable due to the clouded sky. Capturing of data was sadly impossible. The planned observation of the star occultation by the asteroid Eurynome got also a victim of the bad weather.

Because of the strong wind a setup of the big Newton telescope was not possible. So I tried to accomplish the measurements with the short focal length doublett APO.

Observation position:
Kotzendorf, 3571
N 48° 35´ 12.4"
E 15° 42´ 41.6"
MSL 286m

Table with precalculations prepared with Occult 4 from Dave Herald
Occultation prediction for Kotzendorf, Austria
E. Longitude   15 42 45.0,  Latitude  48 35 16.0,  Alt.  288m;  Telescope dia 25cm;  dMag 0.0

       day  Time   P   Star  Sp  Mag  Mag    % Elon Sun  Moon   CA   PA  VA  AA Libration   A   B   RV   Cct durn R.A. (J2000)  Dec
 y   m  d  h  m  s      No  D     v    r V  ill     Alt Alt Az   o    o   o   o   L    B   m/o m/o "/sec   o sec  h  m   s    o  m  s
08 Dec  1 16 16 53 D Venus      -4.2 -4.2   13+  43 -11 11 213  77S  96  72 104 -3.7 +2.9 +1.8-1.6 .288  -32 .07 19 38 36.1 -23 55 56
   Duration of planetary disk occultation: predicted time +/-26.3 secs
08 Dec  1 17 26 33 R Venus      -4.2 -4.2   13+  43      3 227 -39S 211 179 219 -3.9 +2.7 +0.1+0.2 .318 -147 .07 19 38 36.1 -23 55 56
   Duration of planetary disk occultation: predicted time +/-23.8 secs

The moon occults planet Venus on December 01, 2008 from 16:16 until 17:27 UTC
Moon occults planet Venus
Diagram created with Guide 8 from Bill J Gray
The observation place (OP) about 500 meters south from Kotzendorf
Observation place south from Kotzendorf
North 48° 35´ 12.4", East 15° 42´ 41.6", MSL 286m
The planet Venus and the moon at 15:43 UTC, about 23 minutes before occultation start
Planet Venus and the moon
Venus, moon and above right Jupiter at 15:44 UTC
Venus, moon and Jupiter
Already before the occultation start moon and Venus disappeared behind dense clouds
Moon and Venus behind dense clouds
The moon at 16:58 UTC with occulted Venus under Jupiter
Moon under Jupiter
The table with the notebook had to be saved with weights and suit cases due to the gusty wind
Table with notebook
The observation place on a cross way
Observation place on a cross way
The WO Megrez72 with Atik filter wheel and camera WAT-120N on EQ6 mount
WO Megrez72 with Atik filter wheel and camera WAT-120N
The video with inserted GPS time visible on notebook screen
Video on notebook screen
The power supply with 230V was realized with a DC/AC converter direct from car battery
Power supply from car battery
The moon was visible through the clouds always just for few seconds
Moon visible through the clouds
Venus is faint visible through the clouds shortly after the reappearance on the moon limb
Venus shortly visible


Because of the dense clouds also during the reappearance of Venus no accurate time could be captured on video. The video camera had to work in integration mode even to get a chance for capturing Venus through the clouds. At home in Nonndorf at least the disappearance would have been visible clearly in a big cloud hole.

© 2008 G. Dangl
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February 24, 2009
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