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 Asia and Africa. 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.

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)
China 19:04–20:12
India 18:39–20:11
Democratic Republic of the Congo 16:36–18:04
South Africa 16:18–17:46
Angola 16:17–17:45
Pakistan 18:46–19:57
Tanzania 16:51–18:30
Namibia 16:15–17:43
Mozambique 16:36–18:23
Ethiopia 17:34–19:04
Zambia 16:27–18:09
Myanmar 19:10–20:11
Somalia 17:21–19:15
Madagascar 17:03–18:32
Botswana 16:20–17:44
Kenya 17:11–18:44
Afghanistan 18:58–19:48
Zimbabwe 16:29–17:58
Yemen 18:08–19:23
Saudi Arabia 18:20–19:27
Thailand 19:17–20:02
Oman 18:22–19:37
Iran 18:46–19:41
Mongolia 19:21–20:03
Uganda 17:12–18:19
Laos 19:18–20:06
Vietnam 19:18–20:06
Nepal 19:02–20:08
Bangladesh 19:06–20:08
Malawi 16:44–18:11
United Arab Emirates 18:40–19:25
Sudan 17:36–18:21
Sri Lanka 18:55–19:40
Tajikistan 19:17–19:47
Bhutan 19:07–20:09
Burundi 17:01–18:06
Rwanda 17:07–18:06
Djibouti 18:03–18:49
Swaziland 16:37–17:39
Eritrea 18:10–18:46
Maldives 18:38–19:34
Seychelles 17:15–18:56
Comoros 17:06–18:25
Mayotte 17:09–18:25
Republic of the Congo 16:59–17:09
Lesotho 16:34–17:27

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 23h01m20s 8°36'S Aquarius 0.6 0'18"

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
17 Sep 2024 17 Sep 2024 Occultations of Saturn 11 Nov 2024 11 Nov 2024
18 Sep 2024 07 Oct 2024 Occultations 21 Oct 2024 21 Oct 2024

The sky on 14 Oct 2024

The sky on 14 October 2024
Sunrise
07:16
Sunset
18:31
Twilight ends
20:00
Twilight begins
05:47

12-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

92%

12 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:06 13:30 18:53
Venus 10:13 15:07 20:01
Moon 17:06 22:53 04:52
Mars 23:46 07:08 14:30
Jupiter 21:35 04:57 12:18
Saturn 17:00 22:34 04:09
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.

Related news

08 Sep 2024  –  Saturn at opposition
15 Nov 2024  –  Saturn ends retrograde motion
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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