March 4th, 2017, 9:45 p.m. local time
I almost missed it, but earlier in the evening I remembered that the star Aldebaran was going to come close to the Moon. It was also supposed to occult behind the Moon. So looking from my window at about 8:15pm, I noticed that Aldebaran was in fact very close to the Moon, and that I would have an excellent chance tonight to photograph the two together!
Finally, I thought, I would use my telescope to capture the Moon plus one other famous object in the same picture. It’s not Jupiter or Saturn, but I still think it was pretty cool. And as a side note, this is a good reason to have a quick-setup telescope available. I had everything readied outside within minutes, then giving the telescope’s mirror about 20 minutes to cool down to the frigid outside temperature (more than enough time for a 5-inch scope).
And so I took well over 100 images for over an hour as Aldebaran slowly moved towards the Moon. I created an animated .gif that you see above. This post’s header image is a still shot I took with my camera’s Auto mode. For my Pro mode captures (which you see in the animated .gif) I used ISO 100 and an exposure of 1/90, and all with my 40mm eyepiece.
It was a little nerve wracking as Aldebaran was about to disappear, for though I was video taping it, I had to keep adjusting the telescope as the sky moved. Fortunately, I did capture the few seconds when Aldebaran dimmed out as it went behind the Moon’s black disc.
A key benefit from tonight is that I now have a good frame of reference for how much extra space I can see around the Moon through this particular telescope setup, so that I will be well prepared for the next event.