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

Lunar occultation of Uranus

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Uranus

The Moon will pass in front of Uranus, creating a lunar occultation visible from New Zealand, south-eastern French Polynesia and Pitcairn. 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 Ashburn.

The map below shows the visibility of the occultation across the world. Separate contours show where the disappearance of Uranus 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 Uranus 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.

The animation below shows the path of the occultation across the Earth's globe. The red circle shows where the Moon appears in front of Uranus.

You can download this video in MP4 or OGG format.

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

Country Time span
(UTC)
New Zealand 09:33–10:59
French Polynesia 11:14–12:04
Pitcairn 11:28–12:17

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 Uranus at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Uranus 01h06m20s 6°19'N Pisces 5.7 0'03"

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
11 Sep 2014 29 Sep 2015 Occultations of Uranus 22 Nov 2015 12 Oct 2022
02 Oct 2015 08 Oct 2015 Occultations 29 Oct 2015 26 Nov 2015

The sky on 25 Feb 2024

The sky on 25 February 2024
Sunrise
06:47
Sunset
17:57
Twilight ends
19:26
Twilight begins
05:17

16-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

98%

16 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:52 12:16 17:39
Venus 05:41 10:43 15:45
Moon 18:09 00:55 07:30
Mars 05:39 10:37 15:36
Jupiter 09:31 16:21 23:11
Saturn 07:03 12:34 18:05
All times shown in EST.

Source

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.

Related news

11 Oct 2015  –  Uranus at opposition
25 Dec 2015  –  Uranus ends retrograde motion
29 Jul 2016  –  Uranus enters retrograde motion
15 Oct 2016  –  Uranus at opposition

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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Ashburn

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39.04°N
77.49°W
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