The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.

Lunar occultation of Beta Tauri

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Elnath

The Moon will pass in front of Beta Tauri (Elnath), creating a lunar occultation visible from the Americas. Although the occultation will only be visible across part of the world – because the Moon is so close to the Earth that its position in the sky varies by as much as two degrees across the world – a close conjunction between the pair will be more widely visible.

Unfortunately the occultation will not be visible from Fairfield, though it will be visible from south-eastern parts of the Contiguous United States.

The map below shows the visibility of the occultation across the world. Separate contours show where the disappearance of Beta Tauri (Elnath) is visible (shown in red), and where its reappearance is visible (shown in blue). Solid contours show where each event is likely to be visible through binoculars at a reasonable altitude in the sky. Dotted contours indicate where each event occurs above the horizon, but may not be visible due to the sky being too bright or the Moon being very close to the horizon.

Map showing where the occultation is visible

Outside the contours, the Moon will not pass in front of Beta Tauri (Elnath) at any time, or is below the horizon at the time of the occultation. However, a close conjunction between the pair will be visible across much of the world.

The map can be downloaded in PNG , PDF or SVG format. A KMZ file , is also available, which can be opened in Google Earth to provide a higher resolution map.

A complete list of the countries and territories where the occultation will be visible is as follows:

Country Time span
Brazil 06:23–08:41
Colombia 06:16–02:04
Venezuela 06:20–00:26
Peru 09:02–02:54
Mexico 05:54–02:09
Ecuador 06:16–02:08
Guyana 06:32–00:33
Suriname 06:37–00:41
Cuba 09:21–01:59
Nicaragua 06:17–02:12
Honduras 06:20–02:11
Guatemala 06:22–02:21
Panama 06:15–02:04
French Guiana 06:44–00:47
Costa Rica 06:15–02:12
Dominican Republic 02:36–23:49
Haiti 02:42–23:35
Bahamas 02:46–01:54
Belize 05:59–08:04
The Contiguous United States 14:03–01:47
El Salvador 06:20–02:11
Jamaica 09:21–01:58
Puerto Rico 02:36–00:01
Trinidad and Tobago 06:37–00:25
Guadeloupe 02:38–00:19
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 02:41–00:22
Turks and Caicos Islands 02:38–00:45
Barbados 02:41–00:27
British Virgin Islands 02:37–00:05
Cayman Islands 09:18–02:02
Martinique 02:39–00:22
Curacao 06:29–23:59
Saint Kitts and Nevis 02:37–00:14
Saint Lucia 02:40–00:23
U.S. Virgin Islands 02:37–00:06
Antigua and Barbuda 02:37–00:17
Dominica 02:39–00:20
Anguilla 02:37–00:11
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba 06:31–00:11
Grenada 06:49–00:22
Montserrat 02:38–00:16
Aruba 06:29–23:55
Sint Maarten 02:37–00:11
Saint Barthelemy 02:37–00:11
Saint Martin 02:37–00:10
Clipperton Island 08:55–02:24
Navassa Island 09:27–08:06

Lunar occultations are only ever visible from a small fraction of the Earth's surface. Since the Moon is much closer to the Earth than other celestial objects, its exact position in the sky differs depending on your exact location on Earth due to its large parallax. The position of the Moon as seen from two points on opposite sides of the Earth varies by up to two degrees, or four times the diameter of the full moon.

This means that if the Moon is aligned to pass in front of a particular object for an observer on one side of the Earth, it will appear up to two degrees away from that object on the other side of the Earth.

The position of Beta Tauri (Elnath) at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Beta Tauri (Elnath) 05h26m10s 28°36'N Taurus 1.7 0'00"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

Next/previous occultations

« Previous Next »
Visible from the Contiguous United States Worldwide Worldwide Visible from the Contiguous United States
14 Sep 2006 11 Oct 2006 Occultations of Beta Tauri (Elnath) 05 Dec 2006 21 Oct 2024
14 Sep 2006 01 Nov 2006 Occultations 18 Nov 2006 26 Apr 2007

The sky on 2 Oct 2023

The sky on 2 October 2023
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

17-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


17 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:40 11:55 18:10
Venus 03:11 09:52 16:33
Moon 19:47 03:06 10:38
Mars 08:02 13:35 19:07
Jupiter 20:01 02:57 09:53
Saturn 17:04 22:21 03:39
All times shown in EDT.


The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.

Image credit

The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.





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