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 Oceania, Federated States of Micronesia, Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll. 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 San Diego.

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)
Fiji 14:06–15:11
Kiribati 13:19–15:53
French Polynesia 15:01–16:44
Federated States of Micronesia 13:03–14:17
Samoa 14:05–15:40
Marshall Islands 13:08–14:36
Tonga 14:18–15:29
Guam 13:02–13:56
American Samoa 14:10–15:46
Solomon Islands 13:47–14:24
Cook Islands 14:37–16:19
Northern Mariana Islands 13:00–13:58
Niue 14:24–15:43
Tuvalu 13:40–15:08
Wallis and Futuna 13:59–15:24
Kingman Reef 14:44–15:09
Palmyra Atoll 14:41–15:16
Nauru 13:19–14:30
Baker Island 13:37–15:09
Howland Island 13:37–15:08
Jarvis Island 14:33–15:53
Tokelau 13:55–15:34
Wake Island 13:09–14:12

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
03 Mar 2024 03 Mar 2024 Occultations of Antares (Alpha Scorpii) 26 Apr 2024 24 May 2024
03 Mar 2024 16 Mar 2024 Occultations 06 Apr 2024 07 Apr 2024

The sky on 30 Mar 2024

The sky on 30 March 2024
Sunrise
06:36
Sunset
19:07
Twilight ends
20:30
Twilight begins
05:12

20-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

70%

20 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:10 13:47 20:25
Venus 05:58 11:50 17:42
Moon 23:35 04:36 09:32
Mars 05:10 10:46 16:21
Jupiter 08:26 15:11 21:57
Saturn 05:32 11:14 16:56
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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