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

Lunar occultation of Saturn

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Saturn

The Moon will pass in front of Saturn, creating a lunar occultation visible from countries and territories including eastern Australia, north-eastern New Zealand, Fiji and New Caledonia 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 Ashburn.

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

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
Australia 12:49–13:48
New Zealand 13:05–14:08
Fiji 13:04–14:21
New Caledonia 12:54–14:01
Papua New Guinea 13:05–13:40
Solomon Islands 13:07–13:54
Vanuatu 12:58–14:02
French Polynesia 13:55–15:24
Samoa 13:21–14:38
Tonga 13:10–14:29
Kiribati 13:49–15:31
American Samoa 13:22–14:42
Cook Islands 13:35–15:14
Niue 13:18–14:35
Tuvalu 13:27–14:15
Wallis and Futuna 13:18–14:29
Lord Howe Island 12:54–13:48
Kingman Reef 14:33–15:11
Palmyra Atoll 14:29–15:13
Norfolk Island 12:55–13:56
Jarvis Island 14:07–15:20
Tokelau 13:32–14:39

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 Saturn at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Saturn 23h22m50s 6°07'S Aquarius 0.8 0'17"

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
21 Feb 2002 31 May 2024 Occultations of Saturn 24 Jul 2024 17 Sep 2024
24 May 2024 20 Jun 2024 Occultations 14 Jul 2024 14 Jul 2024

The sky on 27 Jun 2024

The sky on 27 June 2024
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

21-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


21 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:48 14:15 21:42
Venus 06:12 13:39 21:05
Moon 00:16 05:57 11:50
Mars 02:36 09:29 16:22
Jupiter 03:51 11:06 18:22
Saturn 00:25 06:08 11:51
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.

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15 Nov 2024  –  Saturn ends retrograde motion

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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