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

Lunar occultation of Neptune

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Neptune

The Moon will pass in front of Neptune, creating a lunar occultation visible from countries and territories including Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela 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 Fairfield.

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

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)
Brazil 07:00–09:08
Peru 06:53–08:28
Colombia 07:08–08:46
Venezuela 07:21–09:07
Bolivia 07:05–08:17
Ecuador 06:57–08:22
Guyana 07:34–09:08
Suriname 07:40–09:11
Panama 07:25–08:23
French Guiana 07:46–09:11
Chile 07:08–07:50
Dominican Republic 08:05–08:52
Costa Rica 07:30–08:05
Haiti 08:09–08:37
Puerto Rico 08:04–09:02
Trinidad and Tobago 07:46–09:10
Guadeloupe 08:00–09:14
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 07:52–09:11
Barbados 07:55–09:15
British Virgin Islands 08:06–09:06
Martinique 07:57–09:14
Curacao 07:45–08:49
Saint Kitts and Nevis 08:03–09:12
Saint Lucia 07:55–09:13
U.S. Virgin Islands 08:04–09:06
Dominica 07:59–09:13
Anguilla 08:06–09:11
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba 07:45–09:10
Grenada 07:51–09:10
Antigua and Barbuda 08:03–09:14
Montserrat 08:02–09:12
Aruba 07:46–08:46
Sint Maarten 08:05–09:11
Nicaragua 07:47–07:54
Saint Barthelemy 08:05–09:11
Saint Martin 08:06–09:10

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

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Neptune 00h00m30s 1°20'S Pisces 7.9 0'02"

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
23 Jul 2016 01 Jun 2024 Occultations of Neptune 25 Jul 2024 18 Sep 2024
24 May 2024 20 Jun 2024 Occultations 14 Jul 2024 14 Jul 2024

The sky on 28 Jun 2024

The sky on 28 June 2024
Sunrise
05:20
Sunset
20:29
Twilight ends
22:37
Twilight begins
03:12

22-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

50%

22 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:30 14:03 21:35
Venus 05:50 13:23 20:56
Moon 00:24 06:28 12:44
Mars 02:13 09:11 16:09
Jupiter 03:25 10:47 18:08
Saturn 00:06 05:48 11:29
All times shown in EDT.

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

06 Dec 2023  –  Neptune ends retrograde motion
02 Jul 2024  –  Neptune enters retrograde motion
20 Sep 2024  –  Neptune at opposition
07 Dec 2024  –  Neptune 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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