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 countries and territories including the western Contiguous United States, Australia, western Canada and north-western Mexico 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 Ashburn, though it will be visible from western parts of the Contiguous United States.

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)
The Contiguous United States 11:05–12:08
Australia 08:08–09:09
Canada 11:09–12:01
Mexico 11:12–12:04
Papua New Guinea 08:11–09:23
Indonesia 08:11–09:08
Solomon Islands 08:19–09:38
Fiji 08:40–09:42
New Caledonia 08:17–09:20
Hawaii 10:11–11:29
Vanuatu 08:24–09:35
Kiribati 08:49–10:55
Samoa 09:02–09:54
Marshall Islands 09:03–09:58
American Samoa 09:10–09:51
Tonga 09:09–09:30
Tuvalu 08:45–10:01
Wallis and Futuna 08:53–09:54
Kingman Reef 09:41–10:58
Palmyra Atoll 09:40–10:57
Midway Atoll 10:11–11:14
Nauru 08:42–09:44
Baker Island 09:04–10:23
Howland Island 09:05–10:24
Jarvis Island 09:41–10:42
Johnston Atoll 09:50–10:58
Tokelau 09:02–10:10

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

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Saturn 23h08m00s 7°56'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 21 Aug 2024 Occultations of Saturn 14 Oct 2024 11 Nov 2024
14 Jul 2024 10 Sep 2024 Occultations 24 Sep 2024 21 Oct 2024

The sky on 17 Sep 2024

The sky on 17 September 2024
Sunrise
06:50
Sunset
19:14
Twilight ends
20:44
Twilight begins
05:20

14-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

99%

14 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:54 12:23 18:53
Venus 09:12 14:46 20:21
Moon 18:42 00:17 06:04
Mars 00:27 07:53 15:19
Jupiter 23:18 06:40 14:01
Saturn 18:54 00:31 06:08
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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23 Mar 2025  –  Saturn ring plane crossing
06 May 2025  –  Equinox on Saturn

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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