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 Africa, Asia, western Russia 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 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
Russia 21:33–23:10
Sudan 20:15–22:03
Algeria 20:21–21:28
Saudi Arabia 20:50–22:30
Kazakhstan 21:42–23:17
Iran 21:20–22:57
Libya 20:31–21:56
Democratic Republic of the Congo 20:05–21:15
Chad 20:08–21:39
Niger 20:09–21:30
Mali 20:09–21:14
Egypt 20:37–22:13
Ethiopia 20:27–21:49
Turkey 21:11–22:41
Nigeria 20:02–21:18
Ukraine 21:32–22:39
Afghanistan 21:48–23:05
Turkmenistan 21:39–23:04
Central African Republic 20:05–21:23
Uzbekistan 21:46–23:12
Pakistan 21:49–23:02
Iraq 21:11–22:39
Cameroon 20:02–21:17
Yemen 20:49–22:07
Mauritania 20:14–21:12
Romania 21:28–22:16
Republic of the Congo 20:03–21:05
Oman 21:20–22:31
Belarus 21:47–22:25
Burkina Faso 20:06–21:08
Gabon 20:01–20:59
Uganda 20:22–21:15
Ghana 20:01–21:04
Kenya 20:28–21:17
Ivory Coast 20:02–21:01
Syria 21:08–22:34
Greece 21:05–22:08
Morocco 20:44–21:14
Tunisia 20:50–21:33
Tajikistan 22:05–23:10
Kyrgyzstan 22:09–23:15
Bulgaria 21:22–22:13
Somalia 20:49–21:42
Serbia 21:24–22:00
Eritrea 20:38–21:56
Italy 21:09–21:49
Azerbaijan 21:30–22:50
Benin 20:02–21:07
Angola 20:05–20:43
Jordan 21:01–22:23
Georgia 21:31–22:45
China 22:19–23:11
United Arab Emirates 21:20–22:30
Togo 20:02–21:04
Hungary 21:38–22:00
Bosnia and Herzegovina 21:28–21:51
Tanzania 20:26–20:55
Moldova 21:33–22:17
Armenia 21:30–22:43
Macedonia 21:21–22:00
Albania 21:18–21:55
Equatorial Guinea 20:01–20:59
Israel 21:01–22:18
Rwanda 20:24–20:55
Djibouti 20:47–21:46
Montenegro 21:24–21:53
Poland 21:47–22:03
Kuwait 21:16–22:33
Croatia 21:28–21:49
Qatar 21:19–22:28
Cyprus 21:10–22:18
Burundi 20:27–20:47
Lebanon 21:08–22:21
India 22:29–22:51
Latvia 22:02–22:14
Slovakia 21:45–21:58
Palestinian Territory 21:04–22:16
Sao Tome and Principe 20:00–20:55
Bahrain 21:19–22:28
Malta 21:07–21:39
RAF Akrotiri 21:10–22:17

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 23h58m10s 1°37'S Pisces 7.8 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 25 Jul 2024 Occultations of Neptune 18 Sep 2024 18 Sep 2024
14 Jul 2024 14 Aug 2024 Occultations 27 Aug 2024 17 Sep 2024

The sky on 21 Aug 2024

The sky on 21 August 2024
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

17-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


17 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:54 12:31 19:08
Venus 07:54 14:16 20:37
Moon 20:29 02:15 08:13
Mars 00:42 08:12 15:42
Jupiter 00:30 07:57 15:24
Saturn 20:30 02:08 07:46
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.

Related news

02 Jul 2024  –  Neptune enters retrograde motion
20 Sep 2024  –  Neptune at opposition
07 Dec 2024  –  Neptune ends retrograde motion
04 Jul 2025  –  Neptune enters 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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