From the photographer: “On 12th December 2023, at 0411 local time (GMT+3), the main belt asteroid 319 Leona occulted/eclipsed Betelgeuse. I write occulted/eclipsed, because the angular size of Leona and Betelgeuse were calculated to be very similar, thus the occultation event might result in a total, irregular or annular eclipse.

This occultation/eclipse was to cross Bursa, with the centerline only 3 km south of my rooftop. The weather was generally cloudy for the last week, then cleared on 11th morning. But the evening of 11th brought some low clouds and fog again. Less than an hour before the event, I decided to try my chances and drove 30 km to the west. 5 minutes before the event, I set up near Akçalar by Lake Uluabat, less than 1 km north of centerline.

When Leona crossed Betelgeuse, the red giant dimmed indeed to magnitude +2.5, but did not disappear. Here is a twin-panel image of Orion and neighbouring constellations which I shot mere seconds apart, showing Betelgeuse in its full light on the first picture and its occulted look on the second. Apparently this was some kind of an annular eclipse, as Leona could not cover Betelgeuse completely.

10 minutes after the event, clouds and fog rolled. Even after driving 30 km, I was very lucky to witness the event, barely getting ahead of the clouds. On the way back, I drove though fog all the way.”



comments (2)

    Leave a comment