Because such events are so beautiful and memorable, I had called for a star party to begin at 3:00AM that morning. Despite the early hour, about 30 people showed up, some from as far away as Gush-et-Zion, along with many from Mitzpe Ramon. I had set out 4 telescopes and a pair of giant binoculars, so we were well provisioned for the night. The weather was warm, the sky clear, and the desert winds that blow most of the night had quit for the evening, as the temperature in Machtesh Ramon and on the rim, where we were, came into equilibrium.
The first photo shows the rich star field that the moon was entering as it began to engulf Jupiter. Jupiter is hidden in the overexposed glow of the moon which was necessary to show some of the dimmer stars.
|The rich star field around Jupiter shows the Hyades star cluster below and to the right of Jupiter with the brilliant red supergiant star Aldeberan directly below the moon. Many other stars are shown in the field and must have also been occulted by the moon, but little mention was made of them in pre-occultation summaries of the event. Jupiter is hidden in the moon's glare near the bright limb. Photo: Ira Machefsky|
|Jupiter and its four Galilean moons about to be occulted by the moon, along with other bright stars in the vicinity. In order from the very left: Callisto, Ganymede, Jupiter, Io, Europa, Moon. Photo: Roy Brown|
|Jupiter about to be occulted by the moon. Photo: Roy Brown|
|Jupiter, preceded by Io and Europa, emerges from behind the moon. Photo: Roy Brown|
|Jupiter and all four of the Galilean moons emerge about an hour later. Another star, identity unknown, to the left of the moon is just a few minutes away from being occulted. Photo: Roy Brown|
The vision was made all the lovelier by the appearance of Venus on the scene, just before sunrise. Venus was shining near its maximum magnitude of -4.7, a beacon below Jupiter and the moon in the gathering light of day.
|Venus rises brightly below the crescent moon and the exiting Jupiter as Aldeberan shines above and to the right of the Morning Star. Photo: Ira Machefsky|
|Sunrise on Machtesh Ramon, after the Jupiter occultation. Photo: Ira Machefsky|