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 Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. 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 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
(UTC)
Brazil 00:46–02:36
Algeria 03:04–04:31
Peru 00:45–01:54
Colombia 00:50–02:01
Mauritania 02:41–04:11
Bolivia 00:48–01:50
Venezuela 00:58–02:15
France 03:22–04:33
Spain 03:12–04:30
Germany 03:30–04:34
Morocco 02:57–04:24
Mali 02:57–04:08
Italy 03:29–04:36
Great Britain 03:25–04:23
Libya 03:40–04:26
Norway 03:36–04:19
Western Sahara 02:42–04:11
Poland 03:35–04:36
Ecuador 00:47–01:50
Guyana 01:04–02:19
Senegal 02:37–03:45
Tunisia 03:32–04:32
Sweden 03:35–04:27
Suriname 01:07–02:25
Serbia 03:38–04:38
Hungary 03:36–04:37
Greece 03:42–04:37
Ireland 03:26–04:12
Czechia 03:34–04:35
Portugal 03:10–04:22
Austria 03:32–04:36
Denmark 03:34–04:28
Croatia 03:34–04:37
Panama 01:03–01:49
French Guiana 01:10–02:28
Guinea 02:47–03:31
Bosnia and Herzegovina 03:36–04:37
Netherlands 03:30–04:27
Slovakia 03:36–04:36
Switzerland 03:29–04:33
Chile 00:53–01:32
Nicaragua 01:12–01:43
Costa Rica 01:06–01:45
Belgium 03:29–04:28
Guinea-Bissau 02:41–03:32
Paraguay 01:06–01:29
Romania 03:39–04:38
Macedonia 03:41–04:37
Albania 03:40–04:37
Slovenia 03:34–04:36
Northern Ireland 03:31–04:10
Montenegro 03:39–04:37
The Canary Islands 02:48–04:09
Corsica 03:31–04:34
Bulgaria 03:41–04:38
Gambia 02:39–03:36
Cape Verde 02:18–03:40
Trinidad and Tobago 01:21–02:13
Mallorca 03:24–04:30
Luxembourg 03:30–04:29
Shetland 03:42–04:01
The Portuguese Azores 02:57–03:52
Orkney 03:39–04:03
Guadeloupe 01:44–02:06
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 01:29–02:11
Menorca 03:26–04:30
Barbados 01:32–02:15
Martinique 01:37–02:10
Curacao 01:24–01:56
Saint Lucia 01:33–02:11
Isle of Man 03:31–04:12
Ibiza 03:23–04:29
Andorra 03:24–04:29
Dominica 01:40–02:08
Malta 03:40–04:31
Jersey 03:26–04:21
Grenada 01:28–02:11
Guernsey 03:26–04:21
Melilla 03:16–04:24
Gibraltar 03:14–04:22
Vatican 03:34–04:35
Liechtenstein 03:32–04:32
Monaco 03:29–04:32
Montserrat 01:54–01:56
Aruba 01:26–01:53
San Marino 03:34–04:35
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba 01:25–01:58
Madeira 02:57–04:08
The Savage Islands 02:54–04:07
Isla de Alborán 03:17–04:24
Islas Chafarinas 03:17–04:24

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 23h15m30s 7°06'S Aquarius 0.6 0'19"

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 24 Jul 2024 Occultations of Saturn 17 Sep 2024 17 Sep 2024
14 Jul 2024 14 Aug 2024 Occultations 27 Aug 2024 17 Sep 2024

The sky on 20 Aug 2024

The sky on 20 August 2024
Sunrise
06:05
Sunset
19:43
Twilight ends
21:25
Twilight begins
04:22

16-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

95%

16 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:02 12:38 19:13
Venus 07:52 14:15 20:38
Moon 20:03 01:23 06:54
Mars 00:43 08:13 15:42
Jupiter 00:33 08:00 15:27
Saturn 20:34 02:12 07:50
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.

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08 Sep 2024  –  Saturn at opposition
15 Nov 2024  –  Saturn ends retrograde motion
23 Mar 2025  –  Saturn ring plane crossing

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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