Hide and Seek with Luna and Goddess of Love Venus

On the morning of November 10, 2004, the Moon will hide Venus behind it for about an hour or so. The Moon will come directly between us and planet Venus. This event, called occultation in technical jargon, is observable from almost all over India. However, those in the eastern part of the country are better placed to see the event. They will see the event earlier and it well placed above the horizon. Whereas, Mumbaikars are most likely to miss the disappearance of the planet. Check the table below gives the time (in IST) of disappearances and reappearances for the four metros and Pune city.

Station Venus disappears Altitude  in deg. Venus reappears Altitude  in deg.
Kolkata 04:47 20 05:46 33
Chennai 04:44 13 05:54 30
Delhi  04:47 09 05:31 18
Mumbai 04:38 04 05:44 19
Pune 04:39 05 05:45 20
Altitude is the angle above the horizon


The fast forward or what will happen on the morning of Nov. 10

This morning Jupiter will rise about the eastern horizon by about 3:54 a.m. And 18 minutes later we can see the Moon rising. Venus follows it four minutes later. As they climb above the horizon we will see the distance between the bright limb of the Moon and Venus closing up.

In just about 25 minutes Venus will almost be touching the the bright limb of the Moon and after that Venus will slowly disappear behind the Moon. It will take the Moon about 25 seconds to completely cover Venus.

Above the bright lunar crescent we will be able to make out the full disk of the Moon. On this part of the Moon the Sun as already set but we can see, thought faintly, because it is now being illuminated by the reflected light from the Earth.

Nothing much happens for some time now. But soon two bright stars appear below the Moon.The right one is Spica (Chitra) and Arcturus (Swati) to left (or north). Mars would rise about 40 minutes later.

Now the the sky will also starts becoming brighter.  About an hour later after it disappeared behind the Moon, Venus can be seen coming out from behind the darker limb of the Moon. It will take another half a minute for the Moon and Venus to be completely separate from each other. And the distance between the planet and the satellite continues to increases steadily.

The Sun would rise about 50 minutes after the reappearance of Venus. By then the sky would be very bright for one to see stars or planets. However, with the reference of the limb of the Moon one can continue to see Venus all through the day. Just find the Moon and see a bit west of it and see if you can spot the Venus.

Use of binocular or telescope will be most useful in observing the event. Through a small telescope one can even see phase of the Venus, which would look like the Moon four days before or after its full moon phase.

It is not a not a rare event though. The Moon does occults planets every now and then. On May 29, 2003 India witnessed similar occultation of Venus by the Moon. This event was a day time event, that is the disappearing and reappearing act took place when the Sun was above the horizon.

The best event that was widely observed from Indian was double occultation of Jupiter and Venus. It took place on April 23, 1998.  The event took place around 1:30 p.m. Prior to this on August 18, 567 AD double occultation of Venus and Jupiter was visible from  the Indian Ocean.

(This material can be freely used,  it is expected that the source be acknowledged.

Credit : Arvind Paranjpye, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune.)

The image shows where Venus makes contact with Lunar limb

A same as above but has some features of on the Moon marked

This is how the planets and stars are placed

You may annotate this image in your local language for publicity or local Public Outreach activity
please annotate the image appropriately.

Gibbous phase of Venus

Venus and Moon at the disappearance

Acknowledgements - Images of the Moon are from Occult programme by D. Herald, Hearaldd@canberra.dialix.oz.au
and that of east sky is and limb profile are from SkyMap Pro (www.skymap.com) by C A Marriott.

Occultation of Venus and Jupiter by Moon (Apr 23,1998)
Photographs by Suhas Gurjar, President, Jyotirvididya Parisanstha,(an associaiton of amateur astronomers) Pune


     Thanks for this; it looks good.  I'm asking Rob Robinson to put a link to it on the IOTA Web page.  The reappearance will be a spectacular naked-eye event in India.  We get the same occultation here in the USA, but in daylight at fairly low altitude.  We have a much better event with Venus the next month, on Dec. 7, before sunrise like your event on Nov. 10.
Good luck.

David Dunham
International Occultation Timing Association