Science

The moon will block out three planets in a rare lunar occultation

The moon will block out three planets in a rare lunar occultation

Venus and a crescent Moon over Valletta earlier this morning. The three planets and Regulus will align in a slight diagonal but it will occur partially during the day so without a telescope the moon, planets and the star will all be hard to see.

As a consolation for those in North America who won't be able to see the occultations, you can still try to catch a celestial alignment between Mercury, Mars, Regulus and Venus, in that order, before sunrise. The 2008 lunar occultation had the moon blocking Mercury, Venus, and Neptune.

The moon performed a spectacular astronomical "dance" on Monday when it past three planets and a Leo constellation star as part of a rare lunar "occultation". And as far as lunar occultations go, this one's a rare sight.

And also looking cool, occultations have some logical value as well.

The rare action was also witnessed by the people of Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. It was more interesting to see as many celestial bodies were involved in this process.




The moon on Monday is playing a role similar to the one it did during the epic American total solar eclipse last month, but this time it's sliding between the Earth and not just one but six celestial bodies. "Undoubtedly, you'll need a telescope to see any one of these lunar occultations - that is, if any one of them even takes place in your sky". But Mars occultation was only seen in some parts of the Pacific Ocean and the coast of Mexico and some areas of America. But because Venus is very bright, it is still visible during the daytime without a telescope.

Venus is seen next to the crescent moon during the daytime, prior to the start of occultation on December 7, 2015, in Washington, DC.

Media reports suggest that some astronomers were able to detect Hertha and Nepthys, two large asteroids covered by the Moon during the occultation.

In the US Eastern time zone, this will all be happening from Sunday evening to Monday evening - and just be warned, most of these probably won't be properly visible because they're not happening in the middle of the night.


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