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

Lunar occultation of Spica

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Spica

The Moon will pass in front of Spica (Alpha Virginis), creating a lunar occultation visible from Eastern and Southeast Asia. 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 Spica (Alpha Virginis) 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 Spica (Alpha Virginis) 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
Indonesia 11:12–12:52
China 10:35–12:13
Philippines 11:07–12:48
Japan 11:07–12:25
Malaysia 10:59–12:43
Vietnam 10:36–12:24
Cambodia 10:40–12:19
South Korea 11:03–11:50
Laos 10:36–12:16
Taiwan 10:59–12:19
Thailand 10:37–12:14
North Korea 11:03–11:32
Brunei 11:22–12:39
Hong Kong 10:47–12:10
Guam 11:43–12:27
Singapore 11:20–12:18
Papua New Guinea 12:12–12:47
Palau 11:43–12:51
Paracel Islands 10:52–12:20
Macao 10:46–12:09
Northern Mariana Islands 11:42–12:25
Spratly Islands 11:08–12:32

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 Spica (Alpha Virginis) at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Spica (Alpha Virginis) 13h25m10s 11°09'S Virgo 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
14 Jul 2024 14 Jul 2024 Occultations of Spica (Alpha Virginis) 06 Sep 2024 27 Nov 2024
14 Jul 2024 31 Jul 2024 Occultations 14 Aug 2024 17 Sep 2024

The sky on 10 Aug 2024

The sky on 10 August 2024
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

6-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


6 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:20 13:45 20:10
Venus 07:28 14:09 20:49
Moon 11:51 17:18 22:37
Mars 00:58 08:24 15:50
Jupiter 01:07 08:33 15:59
Saturn 21:15 02:54 08:33
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.

Image credit

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





Color scheme