Friday, April 12, 2019
Occultation of Saturn by the Moon 25 April, 2019
On the evening of Thursday 25 April Saturn is occulted by the waning Moon as seen from eastern and parts of Central Australia. This is of course the ANZAC day holiday, and many people will be on School Holidays so this is an excellent opportunity to view this normally rare event. Of course it starts around 11 pm (see table below for exact timings, New Zealand has the best view, see the link below)
The Moon, although low above the eastern horizon, is a very obvious signpost for where to look but for most locations Saturn is behind the Moon as it rises (or the pair are very close to the horizon just before the occultation starts). Adelaide, Townsville and Rockhampton all have the Moon very close to the horizon, so you will need an unobstructed eastern horizon to see the occulation.
Start watching about half an hour beforehand to get set up and familiar with the sky. Saturn will appear from behind the dark limb of the Moon while still low above the horizon, so will be a difficult telescopic target. Reappearance will be hard to see as you have to be looking just at the right moment.
|Place||Disappears Bright Limb||Reappears Dark Limb|
More cities in Australia and New Zealand cities can be found at the IOTA site (UT times only).
Although this can be viewed with the unaided eye, it is better viewed with binoculars or a telescope. Unfortunately, the occultation is low to the horizon in many places, so large telescopes may not be able to point that low. You sill will be able to enjoy it.
There are two more occulations of Saturn visible from Australia this year, in August 12 (eastern Australia) and September 8/9 (Northern and Western Australia).