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The Occultation of Jupiter in January 2013

January 22, 2013  •  2 Comments

The year 2013 started with a very interesting astronomical event, an occultation of Jupiter by the waxing gibbous Moon. This events are quite rare as they are only visible in a small fraction of the world, this was visible from South America so I was very lucky as my home was just in the right place for the occultation path.

Daytime Conjunction I started taking photos at daytime, using the Moon as a reference Jupiter was visible to the naked eye even before sunset. Near opposition Jupiter is visible in daytime but is extremely hard to find it, you need a reference and the Moon was perfect, knowing where to look it was easy to spot.

A Mini Solar System I made a composite of two shots to show the Moon, Jupiter and it's satellites. Calisto and Io are very bright on the left side of Jupiter, Ganymede is on the right and Europa is so close to the planet that is lost in its glare. The star above-left Jupiter is w Taurus a main sequence "A" star. You can also see the dark limb of the Moon in this shot, that's where Jupiter is going to disappear. This shot looked to me like a miniature solar system so I liked it.

It's very difficult, impossible to get the Moon and Jupiter's satellites exposed in a single shot because the Moon is much more brighter and the dynamic ranges of cameras can't cope.Filters are of no help but there's a little trick if nature helps.

Jupiter in the Glare of the Moon Some clouds rolled in and with the Moon partially covered by clouds I could manage to get this in a single shot. The Moon craters are visible and the Moons of Jupiter are also in the photo. No tricks or composites needed!

Celestial Pair This wide angle shot shows how close Jupiter was to the Moon and how nice it looked to the naked eye, it was a very nice view with two of the three brightest objects of the night sky touching each other. (I hope I don't get porn-filtered because of 'touching each other')

Jupiter by the Moon And now we are ready for the occultation, Jupiter is very close to the Moon's invisible dark limb and suddenly it will start to disappear.

Now You See it Occultation about to begin

Occultation Begins The Moon takes a bite at Jupiter, this is an incredible view, Jupiter's equatorial bands are clearly visible but a quarter of the planet has just disappeared.

Half a Jupiter Midpoint in the occultation.

Crescent Jupiter This is a shot I liked because it shows Jupiter in a crescent shape, something that is impossible as Jupiter doesn't have phases but this is not a phase it's an occultation and while it seems that most of the planet has disappeared it is actually behind the Moon's dark limb.

Dark Limb Occultation This occultation was a fantastic event, the clouds were friendly and actually helped with the shots, I was able to see the occultation visually with the naked eye and the view through the telescope was amazing. It will take 13 years for this to happen again.



I know nothing about either photography or astronomy. All I know is how beautiful the night sky is, and that I love to look and look at it. I'm always glad to be in the country, away from street lights that cast a glare, blurring the heavens. I Love your observations, photos, and narratives! Thank you so much!
Nick t(non-registered)
Truly amazing! Great shots. Thank you for your work, you are very inspiring
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