March 22, 2014
image by Prof. Ricardo Jose Vaz Tolentino, Brazil
Close approaches and overlaps of objects in the sky are fascinating phenomenon, perhaps because we secretly hope for a collision. But virtually every cosmic close approach is between two objects at vastly different distances. Here the Moon is only 0.002 A.U. from Earth, while yellow Saturn and its slightly blue rings are at about 10 A.U., about 5000 times further. Ancient observers of occultations would see the mottled disk of the Moon moving over a bright star recognized as a wandered and hence a planet. Did ancients worry of collisions? Did they think the planet passed through the Moon, like a neutrino through virtually anything? Or did they realize that the Moon was much nearer and safely passed in front of the distant planet? I don't know, having never read any relevant paper. Do any LPOD readers know the answer?
Orion EON 120 mm ED APO + Orion StarShoot Solar System Color Imager III Camera (just 1 frame).
21st Century Atlas chart 6.
Yesterday's LPOD: A Moon in the Hand
Tomorrow's LPOD: Three Mysteries for the Price of Two