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

Lunar occultation of Beta Tauri

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Elnath

The Moon will pass in front of Beta Tauri (Elnath), creating a lunar occultation visible from Africa and Western 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 San Diego.

The map below shows the visibility of the occultation across the world. Separate contours show where the disappearance of Beta Tauri (Elnath) 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 Beta Tauri (Elnath) 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
Sudan 00:26–02:30
Democratic Republic of the Congo 00:06–01:59
Saudi Arabia 01:07–03:08
Angola 00:06–01:24
Ethiopia 00:39–02:55
Chad 00:20–01:46
Nigeria 00:15–01:22
Tanzania 00:33–01:57
Somalia 01:02–03:09
Central African Republic 00:13–01:53
Kenya 00:40–02:28
Cameroon 00:11–01:27
Egypt 01:04–02:16
Yemen 01:06–03:12
Republic of the Congo 00:06–01:32
Gabon 00:06–01:24
Zambia 00:28–01:27
Uganda 00:30–02:08
Namibia 00:13–01:02
Niger 00:36–01:15
Eritrea 00:53–02:44
Libya 00:55–01:42
Ghana 00:24–00:55
Benin 00:24–00:58
Togo 00:24–00:56
Burundi 00:31–01:46
Equatorial Guinea 00:09–01:18
Rwanda 00:30–01:49
Djibouti 01:02–02:45
Iraq 01:56–02:22
Ivory Coast 00:30–00:44
Sao Tome and Principe 00:08–01:12
Saint Helena 00:03–01:00

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 Beta Tauri (Elnath) at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Beta Tauri (Elnath) 05h26m10s 28°36'N Taurus 1.7 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
08 Nov 2006 27 Aug 2024 Occultations of Beta Tauri (Elnath) 21 Oct 2024 21 Oct 2024
18 Sep 2024 18 Sep 2024 Occultations 07 Oct 2024 21 Oct 2024

The sky on 23 Sep 2024

The sky on 23 September 2024
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

20-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


20 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:08 12:20 18:32
Venus 08:56 14:29 20:01
Moon 21:54 05:28 13:07
Mars 00:15 07:23 14:30
Jupiter 22:52 05:56 13:00
Saturn 17:58 23:40 05:22
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.


San Diego



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