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
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The Moon will pass in front of Uranus, creating a lunar occultation visible from countries and territories including Greenland, western Russia, eastern Canada and Sweden 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 Cambridge. It will begin with the disappearance of Uranus behind the Moon at 15:34 EST, though in daylight. Its reappearance will be visible at 16:43 EST, though in twilight.

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 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)
Greenland 02:08–04:33
Russia 21:03–00:01
Canada 13:39–04:57
Sweden 18:34–05:16
Norway 18:27–05:10
Finland 18:30–05:13
Svalbard 18:08–04:30
Belarus 19:01–05:31
Great Britain 02:45–19:49
Iceland 02:30–04:24
Poland 19:11–05:32
Germany 03:16–19:46
Ireland 02:40–19:44
Kazakhstan 21:04–00:09
Latvia 18:59–05:21
Lithuania 19:04–05:24
Estonia 18:54–05:18
Denmark 01:34–05:17
Ukraine 21:05–05:48
Northern Ireland 02:44–19:38
Netherlands 03:08–19:38
Faroe Islands 02:49–04:56
Shetland 03:01–05:01
Aland Islands 18:57–05:12
Orkney 02:56–05:00
Svalbard and Jan Mayen 02:53–04:26
Isle of Man 02:51–19:37

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 78% illuminated. Uranus will disappear behind the unilluminated side of the Moon and reappear from behind the illuminated side of the Moon.

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

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Uranus 02h49m50s 15°56'N Aries 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
12 Oct 2022 05 Dec 2022 Occultations of Uranus 29 Jan 2023 29 Sep 2029
21 Dec 2022 21 Dec 2022 Occultations 03 Jan 2023 31 Jan 2023

The sky on 1 Jan 2023

The sky on 1 January 2023
Sunrise
07:11
Sunset
16:21
Twilight ends
18:03
Twilight begins
05:30

9-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

81%

9 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:54 12:38 17:22
Venus 08:23 13:01 17:38
Moon 12:40 19:53 03:19
Mars 13:42 21:24 05:06
Jupiter 11:04 17:04 23:04
Saturn 09:33 14:39 19:44
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

09 Nov 2022  –  Uranus at opposition
13 Nov 2023  –  Uranus at opposition
16 Nov 2024  –  Uranus at opposition
21 Nov 2025  –  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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