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

Lunar occultation of Beta1 Scorpii

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Acrab

The Moon will pass in front of Beta1 Scorpii (Acrab), creating a lunar occultation visible from north-eastern China, eastern Russia and eastern Mongolia.

Unfortunately the occultation will not be visible from Fairfield, though a close conjunction between the pair will be more widely visible.

The map below shows the visibility of the occultation across the world. Separate contours show where the disappearance of Beta1 Scorpii (Acrab) 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 of the contours, the Moon does not pass in front of Beta1 Scorpii (Acrab) at any time, or is below the horizon at the time of the occultation. However, a close conjunction between the pair may be visible.

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
China 12:59–21:15
Russia 08:31–21:31
Mongolia 13:03–21:15

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 Beta1 Scorpii (Acrab) at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Beta1 Scorpii (Acrab) 16h05m20s 19°48'S Scorpius 2.6 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
25 May 2013 11 Sep 2013 Occultations of Beta1 Scorpii (Acrab) 25 Aug 2020 22 Sep 2020
18 Feb 2020 19 Jun 2020 Occultations 09 Aug 2020 22 Sep 2020

The sky on 29 Jul 2020

The sky on 29 July 2020
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

9-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


9 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:18 11:42 19:06
Venus 02:34 09:48 17:01
Moon 15:55 20:53 01:46
Mars 23:17 05:31 11:45
Jupiter 19:07 23:47 04:26
Saturn 19:37 00:23 05:08
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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