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

Lunar occultation of Antares

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Antares

The Moon will pass in front of Antares (Alpha Scorpii), creating a lunar occultation visible from countries and territories including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen and Iraq 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.

Unfortunately the occultation will not be visible from Seattle.

The map below shows the visibility of the occultation across the world. Separate contours show where the disappearance of Antares (Alpha Scorpii) 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 Antares (Alpha Scorpii) 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
(UTC)
Saudi Arabia 14:12–15:50
Iran 14:31–15:51
Yemen 14:43–15:47
Iraq 14:11–15:44
Oman 14:51–15:51
United Arab Emirates 14:47–15:51
Turkey 14:07–15:31
Syria 14:09–15:32
Turkmenistan 14:27–15:42
Ethiopia 14:43–15:38
Eritrea 14:38–15:40
Djibouti 14:57–15:36
Somalia 15:04–15:31
Kuwait 14:29–15:45
Jordan 14:11–15:33
Qatar 14:45–15:50

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 Antares (Alpha Scorpii) at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Antares (Alpha Scorpii) 16h29m20s 26°25'S Scorpius 1.1 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 Aug 2023 21 Sep 2023 Occultations of Antares (Alpha Scorpii) 08 Jan 2024 08 Jan 2024
25 Aug 2023 04 Oct 2023 Occultations 01 Nov 2023 08 Jan 2024

The sky on 18 Oct 2023

The sky on 18 October 2023
Sunrise
07:29
Sunset
18:15
Twilight ends
19:58
Twilight begins
05:46

4-day old moon
Waxing Crescent

18%

4 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:24 12:50 18:17
Venus 03:23 10:01 16:38
Moon 12:13 16:12 20:05
Mars 08:22 13:28 18:35
Jupiter 18:56 02:03 09:11
Saturn 16:27 21:32 02:37
All times shown in PDT.

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.

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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