Wednesday, December 2, 1998 Published at 12:34 GMT
'Fly' over the Moon
The Moon occults Jupiter
By BBC News Online Science Editor Dr David Whitehouse
Scientists working for the European Southern Observatory in Chile have made a spectacular video of Jupiter being occulted by the Moon.
As the Moon orbits the Earth it periodically moves in front or occults stars or planets.
Occultations, as they are called, are fascinating to watch. They are also scientifically useful.
By timing the exact moment that a star or a planet passes behind the lunar limb, scientists can determine with great accuracy the position of the Moon in space.
The first short sequence shows the first phase of the occultation during which the dark lunar limb covers Jupiter's disk. The bands in the planets atmosphere are clearly visible.
The second sequence starts with the same sequence, but continues to show the Moon moving across the field of view of the telescope.
As lunar night gives way to lunar day, various craters pass by and the general level of brightness increases.