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Moon man s space shot
David Nicolson with his telescope and attached camera he uses to record images of stars, planets and moons. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Achieving this photograph of the moon passing in front of Saturn was a tense process for amateur astronomer David Nicolson.

Mr Nicolson rose at 5am on Saturday to set up his equipment in his Duncraig backyard for the event, known as an "occultation", which took place at 6am.

"It's always a bit nerve-racking as you get closer to the time," he said.

"It only takes place over a few minutes and you can't make adjustments once you start.

"Ten minutes appears to go in about 10 seconds. The focus is so critical and if you're a little bit out, then you've had it."


Saturn passing behind the moon recorded early yesterday morning, 22nd February, at about 6am, taken from David Nicolson's Dundcraig home. Picture: David Nicolson

Mr Nicolson used a high-quality small tracking telescope and a normal "point and shoot" camera.

He said the moon passed in front of Saturn about 10 times a year, but it was visible from only certain parts of the Earth depending on the time of day.

"WA was almost perfectly placed to view that," he said.

"In the Eastern States they wouldn't have got it so well because of the timing."

Mr Nicolson, a retired electrical engineer, has had a passion for astronomy for many years and helped set up Gingin observatory.

The West Australian

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