On Saturday, the Moon passed between the Earth and Saturn, blocking the ringed planet from view. In this video from photographer Colin Legg, you can watch as Saturn sets behind our planet's satellite, in an uncommon astronomical event known as occultation.


Phil Plait dispenses with some helpful details over at Bad Astronomy:

...seeing the Moon pass in front of a bright planet doesn't happen terribly often.

That's because the solar system isn't as flat as you might think. Most of the planets orbit in the same plane, so that from the side the solar system does look pretty flat.Saturn's orbit is tilted relative to Earth's by about 2.5°, which is a fairly narrow angle. But the Moon is only about 0.5° in size in our sky, which is pretty small. Not only that, the Moon's orbit is tilted to ours by a hair over 5°, so things have to align just so to get Saturn and the Moon together in the sky. Usually they miss each other by a few degrees.

But this time it worked out well for us—well, some of us. Those of us in the U.S. missed it because our part of the Earth was facing the wrong way when it happened. Happily for Legg, though, Australia was in the right position to catch it.

Good on Legg for being there at the right time, too; according to him, the shot was captured right at dawn.

We've featured Legg's work previously, but be sure to check out more of his photos and videos on his vimeo and Facebook pages.


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