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 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 Ashburn.

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
India 20:11–22:27
Democratic Republic of the Congo 18:54–19:57
Tanzania 18:56–20:10
Mozambique 18:53–20:11
Zambia 18:52–20:01
Angola 18:52–19:52
South Africa 18:54–19:57
Madagascar 19:05–20:23
Somalia 19:07–20:30
Kenya 19:02–20:13
Indonesia 21:10–22:48
Botswana 18:52–19:56
Ethiopia 19:17–20:22
Zimbabwe 18:52–20:00
Thailand 21:18–22:36
Uganda 19:09–19:55
Cambodia 21:36–22:28
Myanmar 21:14–22:27
Malaysia 21:22–22:45
Namibia 18:52–19:53
Malawi 18:54–20:03
Vietnam 21:37–22:33
Sri Lanka 20:25–22:05
Burundi 19:04–19:51
Rwanda 19:07–19:50
Swaziland 18:59–19:56
Maldives 20:03–21:41
Sudan 19:27–19:46
Yemen 19:42–20:36
Reunion 19:46–20:06
Seychelles 19:05–20:43
Comoros 19:01–20:15
Laos 21:57–22:09
Singapore 21:29–22:42
British Indian Ocean Territory 20:05–21:26
Mayotte 19:04–20:16
Christmas Island 21:35–22:43
Cocos Islands 21:26–22:25
Mauritius 19:56–20:04
Lesotho 19:00–19:54

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
21 Oct 2024 21 Oct 2024 Occultations of Beta Tauri (Elnath) 15 Dec 2024 07 Mar 2025
12 Nov 2024 12 Nov 2024 Occultations 27 Nov 2024 27 Nov 2024

The sky on 17 Nov 2024

The sky on 17 November 2024
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

16-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


16 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 08:54 13:26 17:59
Venus 10:18 14:50 19:22
Moon 17:14 01:09 09:11
Mars 21:30 04:47 12:04
Jupiter 18:12 01:33 08:53
Saturn 13:43 19:17 00:51
All times shown in EST.


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.





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