566 days away
Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed
The Moon will pass in front of Spica (Alpha Virginis), creating a lunar occultation visible from countries and territories including eastern China, Japan, North Korea and South Korea amongst others.
Unfortunately the occultation will not be visible from Seattle, though a close conjunction between the pair will be more widely visible.
The map below shows the visibility of the occultation across the world. Separate contours show where the disappearance of Spica (Alpha Virginis) 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.
Outside of the contours, the Moon does not pass in front of Spica (Alpha Virginis) at any time, or is below the horizon at the time of the occultation. However, a close conjunction between the pair may be visible.
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:
|Papua New Guinea||22:55–14:53|
|Federated States of Micronesia||23:13–05:24|
|Northern Mariana Islands||23:06–04:34|
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 Spica (Alpha Virginis) at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Magnitude||Angular Size|
|Spica (Alpha Virginis)||13h25m10s||11°09'S||Virgo||1.1||0'00"|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.
|« Previous||Next »|
|Visible from the Contiguous United States||Worldwide||Worldwide||Visible from the Contiguous United States|
|27 Nov 2024||27 Nov 2024||Occultations of Spica (Alpha Virginis)||21 Jan 2025||28 Mar 2032|
|27 Nov 2024||18 Dec 2024||Occultations||28 Dec 2024||14 Jan 2025|
The sky on 24 Dec 2024
|The sky on 24 December 2024|
23 days old
All times shown in PST.
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.
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.