20 April 2009

A Dawn Spectacle: Moon Occults Venus on Wednesday April 22

Wednesday morning in the pre-dawn skies we have a rare opportunity to witness a very unique spectacle, an occultation of the planet Venus by the Moon. Think of it as an eclipse of Venus, a brief time when the Moon's orbit blocks out brilliant Venus for about an hour. From here in San Francisco the Moon and Venus will just be rising above the eastern horizon around 5:00 am and by approximately 5:11 am the Moon will close in and cover the planet. As the Moon rises and the earliest light of dawn arrives, the Moon will reveal Venus again at approximately 6:05 am. For more information, click on the image.

I am particularly fond of this special event for it was during an occulation of Venus that I first became interested in astronomy as a young boy. So my advice is to take a few minutes to experience this rare and impressive sight. It might just move you too.


Sidewalk Universe said...

This is going to be so cool - make time to see this folks!

Paul I hope this one is again special for you! And they are truly moving events - both of the heart and soul along with the natural movement of the celestial sphere!

Enjoy the show my friend!

The Urban Astronomer said...

We've had some clear days here with perfect morning viewing. But this morning some high clouds that obscured the view somewhat. I'll be out waking up the kids early to see this tomorrow. From my home the Moon might be too low to see the covering of Venus, but the system will be high enough when Venus emerges around the dark edge of the Moon just after 6 am. Should be awesome.

Sidewalk Universe said...

What a show this was! The egress of Venus out from Selene's disk was nothing short of spectacular. I just love it when the occulted object hangs on the limb of the Moon like a diamond - beautiful!

It was a crescent upon crescent view in the bino's.

Paul I hope you, your kids, and your listener's got a good view!

The Urban Astronomer said...

The view was stunning. I walked down the street to face east and from that vantage point I had a small slice of eastern horizon at 5:11 am looking up Cabrillo Street in the outer richmond district of San Francisco where, among the power lines and bus cables I could see the Moon cover Venus.

An hour later I had my telescope set up in the living room and the kids out of bed to see Venus reappear. That was brilliant.

The KFOG Morning Show was talking about this at exactly 6:05 am, having received an email and a few "Tweets" from me. They got listeners to pay attention - one called in a few minutes later and was so excited to have seen this.

All in all, a very memorable morning.

Sidewalk Universe said...

I am glad some folks heeded your message about this. Events like this are very profound!