For practised stargazers, last night’s near-meeting of the moon and Jupiter provided a rare thrill.
For the rest of us it was a chance to learn some new, or long-forgotten, words.
We now know, for instance, that the moon and Jupiter coming together in the night sky is a phenomenon known as an occultation.
We also learnt that the moon was ‘‘waxing gibbous’’ - the phase after half, heading towards full.
And that unless you were much further west, preferably in Western Australia, you would have missed the actual occultation, having to satisfy yourself instead with a conjunction. This is where neither body obscures the other but they appear to be close together.
The reason for this, Fairy Meadow photographer and amateur astronomer David Finlay explained, is that the moon set in the west as the show was getting underway - but not before he snapped some photographs.
Recording such events on film has gone beyond a hobby towards obsession for Mr Finlay, developing since he was five years old.
‘‘I call it conjunction-itis,’’ he said.
‘‘I chase these things. I chase eclipses, I chase conjunctions. It’s an infection - you get it in your blood, you can’t get rid of it.’’
Jupiter and the moon didn’t come anywhere near each other, of course, but appeared to draw close in a celestial waltz in our night sky.
Mr Finlay, 40, used a telescope and combined seven different photographs, taken at different exposures, to make this image.
A close look shows four of Jupiter’s moons are visible - one to the left and three to the right of the gas giant.
These moons are known as the Galilean moons, with Ganymede visible to the left of Jupiter, and Io, Callisto and Europa to the planet’s right.
They are among some of the largest bodies in the solar system, but are rendered minuscule by their planet, which is more than 5000 times their mass.
Mr Finlay will soon turn his attention to the comet ISON, which he says is the ‘‘comet of the century’’. Due later this year, it will no doubt bring another learning moment for all of us.