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

Lunar occultation of Mercury

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Mercury

The Moon will pass in front of Mercury, creating a lunar occultation visible from countries and territories including Mexico, the Contiguous United States, New Zealand and eastern Australia amongst others. 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 elsewhere in the Contiguous United States.

The map below shows the visibility of the occultation across the world. Separate contours show where the disappearance of Mercury 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 Mercury 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 Mercury.

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
Mexico 05:54–10:00
The Contiguous United States 14:03–10:12
New Zealand 16:20–11:29
Australia 14:59–12:10
Guatemala 06:22–09:53
Honduras 06:20–09:58
Fiji 10:19–01:51
New Caledonia 16:17–12:07
Belize 05:59–09:55
French Polynesia 06:28–06:06
El Salvador 06:20–09:44
Nicaragua 06:17–09:57
Samoa 10:22–11:51
Tonga 10:25–07:40
Vanuatu 10:01–08:27
American Samoa 10:24–11:54
Cook Islands 08:00–06:24
Niue 10:26–05:58
Lord Howe Island 16:08–11:54
Norfolk Island 16:21–11:52
Clipperton Island 08:55–11:53

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 Mercury at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mercury 23h14m10s 3°50'S Aquarius -0.6 0'07"

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
03 Nov 2021 01 Mar 2025 Occultations of Mercury 08 Feb 2027 24 Dec 2038
03 Feb 2026 13 Feb 2026 Occultations 25 Feb 2026 26 Apr 2026

The sky on 18 Feb 2026

The sky on 18 February 2026
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

1-day old moon
Waxing Crescent


1 day old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:38 13:28 19:18
Venus 07:30 13:03 18:36
Moon 07:30 13:19 19:19
Mars 06:37 11:47 16:57
Jupiter 13:57 21:20 04:44
Saturn 08:22 14:18 20:15
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.

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19 Feb 2026  –  Mercury at greatest elongation east
20 Feb 2026  –  Mercury at highest altitude in evening sky
27 Mar 2026  –  Mercury at highest altitude in morning sky

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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