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

Lunar occultation of Aldebaran

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Lunar Occultations feed

Objects: Aldebaran
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The Moon will pass in front of Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri), creating a lunar occultation visible from Northern America, Europe, western Russia, Northern Africa and Svalbard.

The occultation will be visible from Seattle. It will begin with the disappearance of Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) behind the Moon at 12:32 PST, though In daylight. Its reappearance will be visible at 13:28 PST, though In daylight.

Extreme caution is necessary when pointing binoculars or telescopes at the sky when the Sun is above the horizon, as even a momentary glance at the Sun through such an instrument can cause permanent blindness.

The map below shows the visibility of the occultation across the world. Separate contours show where the disappearance of Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) 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 Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) 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
Greenland 09:27–19:13
Canada 18:42–19:05
Russia 08:31–04:16
Sweden 13:24–05:16
Norway 13:19–05:10
France 19:14–20:09
Finland 13:22–05:13
Spain 19:12–20:21
Algeria 19:26–21:05
Germany 13:02–19:45
Poland 13:00–05:32
Italy 13:27–20:23
Great Britain 19:12–19:49
Svalbard 12:57–20:23
Iceland 12:41–19:14
Belarus 14:07–05:31
Tunisia 20:36–20:43
Ukraine 21:07–05:48
Hungary 21:00–05:36
Ireland 19:10–19:44
Serbia 20:57–02:16
Latvia 14:02–05:21
Czechia 13:09–05:29
Portugal 19:13–20:15
Lithuania 12:55–05:24
Austria 13:21–02:14
Romania 21:02–05:47
Estonia 13:53–05:18
Denmark 12:58–05:17
Croatia 20:54–02:21
Morocco 19:18–20:31
Slovakia 21:03–05:33
Bosnia and Herzegovina 20:56–02:19
Netherlands 13:08–19:38
Switzerland 13:22–19:56
The Contiguous United States 02:31–18:51
Belgium 13:15–19:42
Libya 20:34–21:13
Slovenia 20:57–02:16
Northern Ireland 13:11–19:38
Albania 20:54–02:28
Montenegro 20:56–02:21
Corsica 20:48–20:11
Faroe Islands 12:51–04:56
Mallorca 20:43–20:18
Luxembourg 13:17–19:39
Shetland 12:53–05:01
Aland Islands 13:54–05:12
Orkney 12:58–05:00
Macedonia 20:56–02:22
Svalbard and Jan Mayen 13:01–04:50
Menorca 20:44–20:16
Isle of Man 13:13–19:37
Ibiza 19:26–20:19
Andorra 20:48–20:09
Malta 20:44–20:26
Saint Pierre and Miquelon 18:53–19:00
Jersey 21:00–19:50
Guernsey 21:01–19:50
Melilla 19:25–20:23
Gibraltar 19:21–20:19
Vatican 20:51–20:04
Liechtenstein 13:23–02:14
Monaco 20:51–20:04
San Marino 20:54–02:20
The Portuguese Azores 18:43–00:18
Isla de Alborán 19:24–20:22
Islas Chafarinas 19:26–20:24

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.

At the time of the occultation, the Moon will be 25 days past new moon and will be 53% illuminated. Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) will disappear behind the unilluminated side of the Moon and reappear from behind the illuminated side of the Moon.

The position of Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) at the moment of the occultation will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) 04h35m50s 16°30'N Taurus 1.0 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
12 Oct 2033 29 Jan 2034 Occultations of Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) 25 Mar 2034 25 Mar 2034
25 Jan 2034 22 Feb 2034 Occultations 21 Mar 2034 25 Mar 2034

The sky on 25 Feb 2034

The sky on 25 February 2034
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

7-day old moon
Waxing Gibbous


7 days old

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:53 10:48 15:42
Venus 07:30 13:09 18:48
Moon 10:56 18:31 02:11
Mars 08:42 15:39 22:37
Jupiter 07:22 12:58 18:34
Saturn 12:54 20:46 04:38
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.

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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