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

Lunar occultation of Spica

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Spica

The Moon will pass in front of Spica (Alpha Virginis), creating a lunar occultation visible from Oceania, Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll.

Unfortunately the occultation will not be visible from Ashburn, 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.

Map showing where the occultation is visible

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:

Country Time span
Fiji 15:01–17:40
French Polynesia 22:06–10:35
Kiribati 15:23–11:33
Samoa 12:59–07:25
Tonga 02:32–05:56
Marshall Islands 15:29–17:39
American Samoa 12:59–17:48
Solomon Islands 05:45–17:58
Cook Islands 02:22–08:02
Niue 02:35–05:48
Tuvalu 01:12–18:01
Wallis and Futuna 15:05–07:20
Kingman Reef 15:29–06:25
Palmyra Atoll 15:29–06:28
Nauru 00:21–17:49
Pitcairn 22:31–06:18
Baker Island 15:20–08:49
Howland Island 15:20–08:49
Jarvis Island 01:12–06:47
Tokelau 01:14–17:44

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.

Next/previous occultations

« Previous Next »
Visible from the Contiguous United States Worldwide Worldwide Visible from the Contiguous United States
27 Nov 2024 21 Jan 2025 Occultations of Spica (Alpha Virginis) 16 Mar 2025 28 Mar 2032
14 Jan 2025 09 Feb 2025 Occultations 21 Feb 2025 07 Mar 2025

The sky on 17 Feb 2025

The sky on 17 February 2025
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

19-day old moon
Waning Gibbous


19 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:22 12:49 18:16
Venus 08:11 14:38 21:05
Moon 21:58 03:37 09:07
Mars 13:54 21:32 05:09
Jupiter 11:37 18:56 02:14
Saturn 07:57 13:40 19:23
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.






Color scheme