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Tuesday, April 30, 2024


Daylight Occulation of Saturn, morning Saturday May 4, 2024

Map of the Occultation path of the Moon and Saturn. The occultaion is on the 3rd UT, which is the morning of the 4th in Australia after sunrise.The Moon at 9:03 am AEST in Sydney on Saturday 4 May just as Saturn disappears behind the Moon. The insets shows the telescope view of Saturn going behind the Moon (left) and emerging from behind the Moon at 9:22 am AEST (right)

On the morning of Saturday 4 May Saturn is occulted by the waning Moon as seen from eastern Australia (see table below for exact timings), from Brisbane south. This is a daytime occultation, which will require telescopes. At this time the Moon and Saturn will be around 56 ° from the sun above the north eastern horizon. This is a binocular and telescope event only and extra special care must be taken to avoid accidentally exposing your eyes to the Sun, make sure the sun is hidden by a building or something.  It would be best for experienced amateurs only to attempt this so no accidental sun exposure is possible.

As well, even though Saturn will be visible in telescopes, it will be very pale and difficult to see.

The Moon, well above the north-eastern horizon, is a very obvious signpost for where to look with Saturn close to the bright limb. You may need some patience to see Saturn pale against the brightness of the sky. Brisbane and Melbourne only see a grazing occultation. 

Start watching about half an hour beforehand to get set up and familiar with the sky. Saturn will be pale close to the bright limb of the Moon. Reappearance will be hard to see as you have to be looking just at the right moment.

PlaceDisappears Bright Limb Reappears Dark Limb
Adelaide ACST--
Brisbane AEST9:27 (graze)
Canberra AEST9:019:12
Darwin ACST--
Hobart AEST8:249:16
Melbourne AEST8:56 (graze)
Perth AWST--
Sydney AEST9:039:22

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