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 the Americas. 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 south-eastern 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)
Colombia 01:36–03:19
Venezuela 01:58–03:20
Peru 01:24–02:50
Brazil 01:56–03:00
Ecuador 01:06–02:51
Mexico 01:51–02:53
Cuba 02:10–03:22
Nicaragua 01:42–03:04
Honduras 01:46–03:04
Guyana 02:28–03:13
Guatemala 01:47–02:51
Panama 01:39–03:07
The Contiguous United States 02:22–03:07
Costa Rica 01:39–03:01
Dominican Republic 02:11–03:28
Haiti 02:09–03:25
Bahamas 02:15–03:24
Belize 01:54–02:51
El Salvador 01:45–02:53
Jamaica 02:05–03:18
Puerto Rico 02:18–03:30
Trinidad and Tobago 02:23–03:21
Guadeloupe 02:24–03:30
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 02:24–03:25
Turks and Caicos Islands 02:18–03:27
Barbados 02:27–03:26
British Virgin Islands 02:21–03:31
Cayman Islands 02:06–03:10
Martinique 02:24–03:28
Curacao 02:09–03:20
Saint Kitts and Nevis 02:23–03:31
Saint Lucia 02:24–03:27
U.S. Virgin Islands 02:21–03:31
Antigua and Barbuda 02:24–03:32
Dominica 02:24–03:29
Anguilla 02:23–03:32
Suriname 02:46–02:56
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba 02:11–03:31
Grenada 02:23–03:24
Bermuda 02:40–03:30
Montserrat 02:24–03:31
Aruba 02:07–03:20
Sint Maarten 02:23–03:32
Saint Barthelemy 02:23–03:32
Saint Martin 02:23–03:32
Navassa Island 02:09–03:20

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 22h58m10s 8°52'S Aquarius 0.7 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 14 Oct 2024 Occultations of Saturn 08 Dec 2024 15 Oct 2036
21 Oct 2024 04 Nov 2024 Occultations 12 Nov 2024 12 Nov 2024

The sky on 10 Nov 2024

The sky on 10 November 2024
Sunrise
06:45
Sunset
16:59
Twilight ends
18:31
Twilight begins
05:13

9-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous

75%

9 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:44 13:20 17:57
Venus 10:08 14:40 19:13
Moon 14:06 19:43 01:30
Mars 21:49 05:07 12:24
Jupiter 18:42 02:03 09:24
Saturn 14:11 19:45 01:19
All times shown in EST.

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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