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Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Occultation of Saturn by the Moon February 22, 2014

morning sky, 8:10 am

The Moon at 9:10 am ACDST  in Adelaide on Saturday February 22 just before the Moon covers Saturn. Similar views will be seen at equivalent times before Saturn disapears (see table below for timings for major cities)

On the morning of Saturday February 22 Saturn is occulted by the Moon as seen from the most of Australia. This is a daylight occultation (the other two this year are at night time) and requires binoculars or at least a small telescope to see.

The occultation occurs in the mid morning with the Moon  quite high above the north-west horizon and easily visible in daylight. Saturn will only be visible in strong binoculars or a telescope just above the illuminated part of the Moon. The further south you location is, the  further north Saturn will be from the centre of the Moon.

It is advisable to set up and practise on the Moon a day or so before the event, so you are familiar with your telescope set-up. Set up at least half an hour ahead of time so that you can be sure everything is working well and you can watch the entire event comfortably (trying to focus you telescope on Saturn moments before the occultation will cause a lot of unnecessary stress). Saturn will be visible in a telescope or binoculars near the Moon, but will be very washed out, see these images of the daytime occultation of Jupiter to get a feeling for what the event will look like.

Be sure to set up with the Sun behind a wall or building that is solid so that it will not be possible to accidentally pass you scope or binoculars over the Sun. Exposing your eyes directly to the glare of the Sun can be very dangerous and you could potentially lose your sight.

PlaceDisappears Bright Limb Reappears Dark Limb
Adelaide ACDST 9:15 10:29
Brisbane AEST 9:12 10:14
Canberra AEDST 9:59 11:07
Darwin ACST - -
Hobart AEDST 9:53 10:55
Melbourne AEDST 9:52 11:02
Perth AWST 5:58 7:23
Sydney AEDST 10:02 11:10

More cities can be found at the IOTA site (UT times only).

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Let me know if you want some pics of the Saturn/Moon occultation for your blog.

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