8- Multiple occultations by the Moon
It is possible that the moon or another celestial body can occult multiple celestial bodies at the same time.
Such events are extremely rare and can be seen only from a small part of the world. The last event of such type was on April 23rd, 1998 when the moon
occulted Venus and Jupiter simultaneously for observers on Ascension Island:
Credit & Copyright: Olivier Staiger.
This dramatic telephoto picture was taken at one such location, Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. The sunlit crescent is over-exposed revealing
the rest of the lunar surface illuminated by faint earthshine.
Venus is emerging just beyond the crescent's tip and Jupiter is trailing above the dark lunar edge with a spot of light, Jupiter's moon Ganymede,
between the lunar limb and the planet's disk.
Look closely at Jupiter and you can see yet another Jovian moon, Io, just visible against Jupiter's glare!
Only 6 such events have occurred since the invention of the telescope (considered as 1601AD) to 2000. Remarkably, in the 54 years following
2000 five more much events will occur, with three of them within a six-months period!!
Simultaneous occultations of two planets occurs with a frequency of between one and three per century. Generally, each such event can be seen
favourably only within a rectangular area measuring only a dozen or so degrees (about 1000Kms)
both in latitude and longitude.
The five events were:
- 25th October 1682, both Jupiter and Saturn occulted by a 41% sunlit Waxing Crescent Moon. This event must have been spectacular, but with the
telescope still in its infancy and the double occultation only visible over water on the Southern Hemisphere, it is probable that this event went
- 11st February 1683, both Jupiter and Saturn again occulted by the moon and visible from South America south of latitude 40°S.
- 18th March 1757, both Venus and Mars occulted by a thin 5% sunlit Waxing Crescent Moon, shortly before New. Must be very impressive to see the drama
and the beauty of two planet appears from behind and disappears behind the dark limb of a crescent Moon!!
- 28th February 1851, Mercury and Mars behind the Waxing crescent Moon and visible only from the Micronesian archipelago, north of Australia.
- 8th February 1951, Jupiter and Mars hidden 21' behind a crescent Moon and only visible from a location in ocean, centered on the International Date
Line at 50°N.
- 4th May 2000, Venus and Uranus both occulted by the Moon were visible from Australia and New-Zealand during daylight.
Next events will be:
- 6th September 2037, Uranus and Jupiter occulted for only six minutes and visible from the Madagascar Basin, Southeast of Madagascar.
- 16th February 2038, Uranus and Jupiter again occulted for almost one hour and half and visible from a large part of Africa.
- 16th March 2038, Uranus and Jupiter moving very slowly in retrograde motion +/-0.5° double occultation limit for 57 consecutive days allowing the
Moon to pass over the pair. Visible from the West coast of South America, and especially from the Galapagos Islands.
Two such occultation of the same planets one month apart in successive lunations are exceedingly rare, occurring perhaps once in one or two
- 16th August 2053, Venus and Uranus, 39° East from the Sun and only visible from the northern hemisphere.
9- Occultations by an eclipsed Moon
Last time Moon occulted a planet during an umbral eclipse was on 16 August 2008, but since it was Neptune occultation was only observable with
About the inferiors planets, next events will be:
- Jupiter will be occulted by eclipsed Moon on 10th of June, 2932 (!!!)
- Mars almost 500 years earlier: on 26th of April, 2488 and
- Saturn "only" in 3.5 centuries, on 26th of July, 2344!
Source: Solar and Lunar Eclipses by M.M.Dagaev, Nauka (Science) Publishers, Moscow, 1st edition, 1978
Jupiter was observed and recorded occulted during the total eclipse of the Moon in 755 by Simeon of Durham in England.
I can't imagine the beauty of such an event!!
There will be no visible event in our lifetime, except for Uranus that will be occulted by the Total eclipse in:
- 8th October 2014
- 8th November 2022
This incredible occultation already occurred in 1938 and was visible from the East coast of North America but, oddly, was mentioned neither in the
Nautical Almanach nor in the American Ephemeris for this year...
edit on 25-5-2012 by elevenaugust because: (no reason given)