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

Lunar occultation of Venus

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Venus
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The Moon will pass in front of Venus, creating a lunar occultation visible from countries and territories including Canada, the Contiguous United States, Alaska and Mexico amongst others. 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.

The occultation will be visible from Ashburn. It will begin with the disappearance of Venus behind the Moon at 12:39 EST, though in daylight. Its reappearance will be visible at 13:52 EST, though in daylight and at a low altitude of 8.2 degrees.

Extreme caution is necessary when pointing binoculars or telescopes at the sky when the Sun is above the horizon, as even a momentary glance at the Sun through such an instrument can cause permanent blindness.

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

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
Canada 13:39–05:26
The Contiguous United States 14:03–07:47
Alaska 13:39–05:13
Mexico 05:54–08:00
Cuba 09:21–00:41
Nicaragua 06:17–08:28
Colombia 06:16–00:03
Venezuela 06:20–00:26
Honduras 06:20–08:19
Guatemala 06:22–08:08
Panama 06:15–08:45
Costa Rica 06:15–08:33
Dominican Republic 02:36–23:49
Haiti 02:42–23:35
Bahamas 02:46–00:47
Belize 05:59–08:04
El Salvador 06:20–08:14
Jamaica 09:21–08:15
Puerto Rico 02:36–00:01
Turks and Caicos Islands 02:38–00:45
British Virgin Islands 02:37–00:05
Cayman Islands 09:18–08:02
Curacao 06:29–23:59
U.S. Virgin Islands 02:37–00:06
Bermuda 02:51–00:59
Aruba 06:29–23:55
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba 06:31–00:11
Clipperton Island 08:55–10:36
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.

At the time of the occultation, the Moon will be 6 days past new moon and will be 13% illuminated. Venus will disappear behind the illuminated side of the Moon and reappear from behind the unilluminated side of the Moon.

The position of Venus at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Venus 14h05m20s 10°18'S Virgo -4.2 0'16"

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
13 Aug 2012 08 Oct 2015 Occultations of Venus 06 Apr 2016 12 Dec 2020
26 Nov 2015 06 Dec 2015 Occultations 20 Dec 2015 20 Jan 2016

The sky on 24 Sep 2023

The sky on 24 September 2023
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

9-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


9 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:29 11:57 18:25
Venus 03:37 10:17 16:58
Moon 16:32 21:11 01:56
Mars 08:22 14:03 19:44
Jupiter 20:55 03:48 10:41
Saturn 17:50 23:11 04:33
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.

Related news

26 Oct 2015  –  Venus at greatest elongation west
12 Jan 2017  –  Venus at greatest elongation east
03 Feb 2017  –  Venus at highest altitude in evening sky
03 Jun 2017  –  Venus at greatest elongation west

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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