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 Africa, Europe, Western Asia and Northern America. 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 San Diego.

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
Algeria 02:52–21:05
Sudan 00:17–21:45
Libya 00:21–21:13
Chad 00:17–21:35
Mali 03:48–21:09
Saudi Arabia 21:05–21:19
Niger 03:29–21:22
Mauritania 03:34–20:51
Egypt 00:26–21:07
Turkey 21:02–18:25
Nigeria 00:20–21:30
France 02:49–20:09
Ethiopia 00:21–21:46
Spain 02:41–20:21
Central African Republic 00:17–21:42
Morocco 02:47–20:32
Italy 03:16–20:23
Cameroon 00:18–21:39
Iraq 21:02–18:08
Western Sahara 03:40–20:32
Romania 02:43–05:47
Ivory Coast 04:00–21:02
Burkina Faso 04:14–21:12
Canada 13:39–19:05
Guinea 03:38–20:41
Ghana 04:20–21:13
Ukraine 21:05–05:48
Syria 21:02–18:29
Senegal 03:30–20:27
Greece 03:54–02:42
Tunisia 03:21–20:43
Bulgaria 02:45–05:50
Great Britain 02:45–19:49
Serbia 02:42–02:17
Eritrea 00:29–21:29
Ireland 02:40–19:44
Portugal 02:42–20:15
Yemen 00:43–21:29
Benin 03:39–21:17
Greenland 02:08–19:13
Democratic Republic of the Congo 00:20–21:51
Jordan 21:03–18:32
Croatia 03:39–02:22
Hungary 02:40–05:36
Russia 21:03–13:41
Bosnia and Herzegovina 02:40–02:20
Austria 03:26–02:14
Switzerland 03:15–19:57
Germany 03:16–19:46
Togo 03:38–21:15
Sierra Leone 03:44–21:24
Guinea-Bissau 03:34–21:16
Macedonia 02:45–02:22
Albania 03:55–02:28
Slovenia 03:42–02:16
Moldova 02:50–05:43
Israel 16:42–18:31
Liberia 03:50–21:27
Djibouti 00:34–21:33
Northern Ireland 02:44–19:38
Montenegro 02:43–02:21
The Canary Islands 02:40–20:18
Cyprus 03:05–06:10
Corsica 03:22–20:11
Gambia 03:33–22:48
Georgia 21:02–05:58
Lebanon 16:50–18:28
Republic of the Congo 00:23–21:42
Cape Verde 03:12–21:12
Mallorca 03:06–20:18
Palestinian Territory 16:46–18:30
Somalia 00:28–21:51
The Portuguese Azores 02:16–19:46
Belgium 03:07–19:42
Equatorial Guinea 00:31–21:34
Menorca 03:09–20:17
Luxembourg 03:15–19:41
Ibiza 03:04–20:19
Andorra 03:03–20:09
Malta 03:37–20:26
Saint Pierre and Miquelon 02:04–19:00
Jersey 02:55–19:51
Guernsey 02:54–19:50
Melilla 02:56–20:23
RAF Akrotiri 03:06–06:10
Gibraltar 02:51–20:19
Vatican 03:32–20:04
Liechtenstein 03:25–02:14
Monaco 03:17–20:04
San Marino 03:33–02:21
Madeira 02:36–20:07
The Savage Islands 02:40–20:12
Isla de Alborán 02:56–20:22
Islas Chafarinas 02:57–20:24

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 14h34m50s 13°06'S Libra -0.7 0'05"

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
18 Feb 2026 01 Dec 2032 Occultations of Mercury 24 Jul 2036 24 Dec 2038
05 Nov 2033 08 Nov 2033 Occultations 02 Dec 2033 06 Dec 2033

The sky on 20 Nov 2033

The sky on 20 November 2033
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

28-day old moon
Waning Crescent


28 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 04:57 10:25 15:52
Venus 05:29 10:50 16:10
Moon 05:00 10:37 16:11
Mars 12:05 17:26 22:48
Jupiter 12:22 17:50 23:19
Saturn 20:16 03:18 10:19
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.

Related news

13 Nov 2033  –  Mercury at greatest elongation west
26 Jan 2034  –  Mercury at greatest elongation east
27 Jan 2034  –  Mercury at highest altitude in evening sky
02 Mar 2034  –  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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