Amateur astronomer Stephen Hovell enjoyed a dramatic view of the occultation of Saturn from his home outside Kaitaia in the early hours of Friday morning, the planet disappearing behind the moon for just over an hour.

"It was probably the most amazing sight I have ever seen through a telescope," Stephen said.

"Using a large 28-inch f/3.3 telescope called Kororia (Glorious) I saw Saturn and its rings gradually disappear behind the bright edge of the Moon. About half an hour before the event the sky was clouded over, but it cleared around the moon just in time, enabling me to follow the disappearance.

"I missed Saturn emerging due to cloud, but glimpsed it again once it was clear of the dark edge of the moon.


"The photo is not brilliant. It was taken with my mobile, hand-held," he added.

"With the moon being so bright, Saturn looks pretty washed-out in the photo, but in the telescope it looked incredible."