An astronomer has captured in stunning detail an incredibly rare celestial event in which the Moon appears to devour the planet Jupiter.
Rafael Defavari focused his high-powered telescope on the heavens just in time to film the largest planet in our solar system disappear behind the crater strewn lunar surface.
The incredible phenomenon – known as an occultation in which one object is hidden by another object that passes between it and the observer – was only viable from certain parts of the southern hemisphere on Christmas Day.
Crater-strewn: The video captures gas-giant Jupiter as its orbit takes it on a path directly behind the moon
Bite-size: Our solar system’s largest planet appears to be dwarfed by our moon as it becomes obscured
Mr Defavari’s video, filmed from São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, shows the rarely seen event unfold five times faster than real time.
The breath-taking footage also captures Jupiter – which is almost 122 times bigger than the Earth – reappearing, having passed out of view being the dark side of the moon.
One of the gas-giant’s moons, called Io, can also be seen casting a shadow on the planet’s surface as it emerges back into view.
Stunning: Astronomer Rafael Defavari captured the rare phenomenon unfolding from his telescope in Brazil
Moon rising: Jupiter’s moon Io can be seen casting a shadow on the planet’s surface as it emerges
The detail with which the occultation was filmed is all the more impressive because of the staggering distances involved.
The Moon was about 240,000 miles away at the time, with Jupiter, which is the fifth planet from the Sun, a further 360,000,000 miles away, according to Bad Astronomy website.
Blogger Phil Plait wrote: ‘It looks small here, but in reality Jupiter is over 40 times wider than our Moon’.
An occultation involving the moon is particularly rare because its orbit is tilted compared to the trajectory of the planets in our solar system.
This off-set orbit means does not frequently cross in front of other planets.
Phenomenal: An occultation involving the moon is rare because its orbit does not frequently cross in front of other planets
VIDEO Amazing time-lapse view of lunar occultation of Jupiter
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