The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Venus and the Moon: An Occultation and See Venus in the Daytime

I got up early today to head to the airport and saw Jupiter, the Moon, Venus, and even caught Mars rising.  It happens that the Moon is heading toward Venus for a remarkable encouner tomorrow morning (Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009).

Depending on where you live, the Moon may pass directly in front of Venus!  In the western US, this will happen before sunrise.  Farther east, this happens during the day but since you can see Venus and the Moon during the day, it is worth trying to see.  People east of a line running from roughly Ohio to Louisiana will not see an occultation as the Moon will merely pass very close to Venus.  You can estimate the time to look by using the charts at Sky and Telescope or you can download a free program such as Stellarium and really nail down the best time to look.

If you are trying to observe the event after sunrise, it helps to find the Moon and Venus before sunrise and follow them for a while.  They can be tough to find during the day.  Another trick you should use is stand near a building so the building blocks your view of the Sun.  When the Sun is in the east, Venus and the Moon will be above the Sun so this trick works well in the morning (not so well in the afternoon when the Sun is above Venus and the Moon in the west).

Unfortunately, I am on my way to Florida for vacation and there is no occultation visible there (thank you Albuquerue’s free wifi for allowing me to post now) while I would get a great view if I stayed home in Tucson!

April 21, 2009 - Posted by | Observing, Solar System

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