|8:51 PM. Orion, the Moon in the Hyades,and the Pleiades|
The timing didn't seem right. For New York City, the occultation was slated to begin at 11:10 PM. But the exact details of an occultation vary depending on the location of an observer on the surface of the Earth - the Moon, after all, is a three-dimensional object and is much closer to the Earth than to the star it is covering, so its position relative to the background stars will be different for different observers. Surely the event would take place sooner in Northeastern Pennsylvania?
The words BATTERY EXHAUSTED appeared a few minutes before 11:00 PM, and the camera shut down.
I've been meaning to get a spare battery since I got my camera. I never got around to it. But I remembered that a cold battery can be brought back to life by warming it. To get the battery out of my camera, I needed to take the camera off the tripod, remove the tripod quick-release mount, open the compartment, and pop out the battery. I did this, and started warming the battery in my cold hand.
I dropped the quick-release mount.
It went bouncing across the frozen lawn in the dark. I felt around with one hand while holding the camera in the other, which was also closed around the battery. Nothing. I could try propping the camera on the tripod - no good, not stable. I would need to go into the house to get a flashlight.
I found one. In another minute, I found the quick-connect mount, far from where I had dropped it, with just a few minutes to go.
After a few shots, the battery died again.
Fine, I thought. I popped the battery out an warmed it again. I held on tightly to the mount this time. About a minute left.
|11:08 PM. Aldebaran about to be covered.|
|11:09 PM. Aldebaran is now covered by the Moon.|
I went back in the house. A glance at the clock revealed that the timings for New York City were pretty accurate for my location, too. It also revealed that I had been outside a heck of a lot longer than I had realized. I uploaded a selection of my images, watched the opening of Saturday Night Live (with Kate McKinnon playing Jeff Sessions in the manner of Forrest Gump), started recharging the camera, and went to bed.
I suppose Aldebaran popped out from behind the Moon eventually, but I was too cold and tired to watch.