An Occultation of the Red Giant Star Aldebaren

Oct 2, 2015

During late 2015 and 2016, the moon is moving through the Hyades Star Cluster each month. Some of these swings are visible from California and in a dark sky. Aldebaren is the brightest star which can be occulted by the moon, and as a red giant, it is always very interesting to watch. It is at magitude 1.1, bright enough to outshine the sunlight lunar surface. I realized it would be nicely visible right from my home deck, and set up the Williams Optics GTF1 80mm APO refractor and Nikon D7000 camera, after getting up at 5:45am. There were some clouds, but it all worked more or less. I didn't have time to finagle the camera into remote mode, and using a simple tripod with this heavy telescope was also not ideal for getting good positioning. Allowing more time would have perhaps allowed better focus, but I've noticed this telescope has a hard time with the weight of the camera and not sliding slowly out of focus when aimed at high elevation angle. I did get a couple shots that were worth posting...

Minimally processed. 1/125 sec ISO 200, at f/5.6 through WO GTF1 refractor. Aldebaren is at lower left

Shot a couple minutes later, and being the best focused, I spent some time bringing out the natural colors, sharpening, and cropping. Shot at 6:16am

Seconds later, the fog closed in, and the actual Disappearance at 6:20:45am was fogged out, as was the Reappearance an hour later, after dawn.