Yesterday, observers in North America were treated to a rare celestial alignment as the waning crescent moon passed in front of Venus. At approximately 9:23 AM Venus was covered by the illuminated edge of the moon as it (the moon) slowly trekked eastward across our sky. I had my eye on the sky all morning in anticipation of this event and did not think I would get to see it as the sky had a thick covering of cirrus even before sunrise.
If I have learned one thing in my life as an amateur astronomer, it is much better to attempt to make a trip or an observation in the face of uncertain weather,than to throw in the towel in advance. It is weather after all- it is unpredictable. Countless times I have awoken during the night to make an observation that others skipped because it was overcast when they went to bed...and certainly I have driven 16 hours to a star party and been clouded out for 4 nights! (Texas Star Party).
In this spirit, I loaded up my binoculars, camera, lens, extender and tripod into a backpack and took them to work with me...At 8:30 AM I looked outside and the sky was a mess in the area where the moon would be. So much so that I went back inside and nearly forgot about the occultation. At 9:15 I remembered it was about to happen and grabbed my equipment and ran outside. Sure enough, the haze had thinned just to the point where I could barely see the moon! It was difficult to focus and I was in a terrible hurry to catch Venus before it disappeared, yet I managed to get the image below. It is nothing to write home about, but considering the effort I went to observe this occultation, I figured it deserved a post!
My friend and comrade in astronomy Dean Ketelsen has a very nice post on his blog with better images of the occulation. In addition, Dale Cupp (also a friend and a volunteer who works with me) took the amazing image below through his 11-inch telescope.