Written By Ayushi, Edited By Pallabi
Saturn lined up with the Moon almost perfectly on March 29, which appeared as if it was touching the lunar object.
While most of us missed the common event, an astrophotographer, Grant Petersen, from Johannesburg, South Africa, captured a stunning image of the same from his Samsung Galaxy S8 mounted on a telescope.
He shared the picture on his Twitter handle, @GP_O11.
Petersen captured a conjunction, but what is it?
This astronomical phenomenon captured by Petersen is called conjunction, which occurs when two celestial bodies appear to meet each other.
It involves the moon in most of the cases.
Moreover, all conjunctions are only from the perspective of the Earth, and no two solar bodies actually come close together.
The conjunction symbol, which is usually handwritten, is not used in modern astronomy.
Nothing gonna get me off this astronomy high, Petersen tweets
Though Saturn was in motion, Petersen captured it just before the planet slipped behind the moon.
The image posted by him, however, is a combination of various images taken by him.
Expressing his excitement, he tweeted, “That was frickin spectacular. I’m smiling from ear to ear, nothing gonna get me off this astronomy high.”
Notably, Peterson keeps a track of all upcoming astronomy events.
This event has been on Petersen’s mind since January
Petersen told that he uses a number of astronomy apps and diaries to keep track of the events from passing comets to International Space Station zipping by.
This particular event has been on his mind since January and to achieve the picture, he planned the photography.
According to reports, he was excited about the event until Johannesburg witnessed rain a day before the event.
Petersen woke up two hours before to set up equipment
However, to his luck, the sky cleared up on ‘D-day’.
Petersen said, “When an event like this comes along and all goes according to plan, and [we] can avoid issues like weather, equipment failure, or human error, it feels like a great accomplishment.”
That day, he woke up at 4 AM, two hours before the event, in order to set up his equipment.
Merged several lower-quality images into one brighter picture
In order to capture the perfect image, Petersen used a cheaper but powerful telescope, 20cm Dobsonian, his smartphone (Galaxy S8), an adaptor to connect it to the lens and an eyepiece.
He recorded the event at 60 frames per second as the planet approached the moon.
Later, he processed it using stacking, a technique which merges lower-quality images into one clearer and brighter picture.
Petersen now waiting for transit of Mercury across the sun
He added, “I felt like a kid at Christmas. I got a comment that said it reminded them of the first earthrise pic from the Apollo missions.”
In another of his picture, Saturn can be seen as just a fraction of its actual size, 1.5bn km away from Earth.
Petersen’s next aim is when Mercury will be in transit across the sun, on November 11.