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 Africa.

Unfortunately the occultation will not be visible from Seattle, though a close conjunction between the pair will be more widely visible.

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 of the contours, the Moon does 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 may be visible.

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
Niger 20:33–21:22
Nigeria 21:46–21:30
Mali 19:39–21:09
Cameroon 21:37–21:39
Algeria 19:26–21:05
Ivory Coast 11:37–21:02
Gabon 21:28–21:39
Burkina Faso 20:56–21:12
Ghana 11:49–21:13
Republic of the Congo 01:08–21:42
Liberia 11:30–21:27
Guinea 11:21–20:41
Chad 21:48–21:34
Togo 11:56–21:14
Angola 00:47–21:45
Democratic Republic of the Congo 00:50–17:42
Central African Republic 21:38–17:30
Equatorial Guinea 21:36–21:34
Benin 21:05–21:16
Mauritania 19:18–20:51
Sao Tome and Principe 21:34–21:27
Sierra Leone 11:25–21:24

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 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 10 Aug 2024 Occultations of Spica (Alpha Virginis) 27 Nov 2024 27 Nov 2024
14 Jul 2024 05 Sep 2024 Occultations 10 Sep 2024 17 Sep 2024

The sky on 06 Sep 2024

The sky on 06 September 2024
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

3-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


3 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:56 11:59 19:01
Venus 08:50 14:40 20:30
Moon 10:16 15:38 20:48
Mars 00:10 08:08 16:05
Jupiter 23:27 07:18 15:09
Saturn 19:47 01:16 06:46
All times shown in PDT.


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