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Space & Astronomy

Three planets to hide behind the Moon today

By T.K. Randall
September 18, 2017 · Comment icon 1 comment



Lunar occultations involving three planets within 24 hours are quite rare. Image Credit: CC BY-2.0 Jason Bache
Venus, Mars and Mercury will all be temporarily disappearing behind the Moon over the next few hours.
The event is what is known as a lunar occultation and it occurs whenever the Moon passes in front of a far away object in the sky, blocking our view of it from the Earth.

The last time three planets disappeared behind the Moon within a 24-hour period was all the way back in 2008 and after this it will not occur again until 2036.
"It's almost like it's a dance in the sky," said astrophysicist Jackie Faherty from the American Museum of Natural History. "It's going to pass its partners."

As with a solar eclipse, the occultations will not be observable from everywhere at once and it will be necessary to have appropriate viewing equipment available to see them properly.

Breathtaking video footage of Jupiter recorded during a previous occultation can be viewed below.



Source: New York Times | Comments (1)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by ChrLzs 5 years ago
Hmmm.   The title is a bit misleading - there is no single place on earth where this will happen - the occultations are not happening at the same time, are spread over nearly 24 hours, and each event is only visible from smallish areas on the globe - most of the events are not visible from the US, Australia or Europe.  Here for more details: http://earthsky.org/tonight/occultations-galore-on-september-18 If you get /got? up early, ie pre-dawn, you would have seen a nice grouping in the sky, though.


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