Rare lunar occultation of Mars to be visible from India at 5 pm today

A rare phenomenon of the Moon eclipsing Mars completely for an hour and a half will be visible from 5 pm onwards from India.

UPDATED: April 17, 2021 22:45 IST

A rare lunar occultation of Mars will be visible from India at 5 pm on Saturday. This occultation will be the result of the crescent moon coming directly between Earth and Mars and will only be visible from India, Indonesia and the western coast of South Africa.

During this phenomenon, the moon will cover Mars completely for about an hour and a half.

A lunar occultation of Mars is when the Moon appears to pass in front of Mars and eclipse the Red Planet. Such occultations are visible from Earth twice a year.

On Saturday evening, people will be able to see Mars as a red dot in the night sky next to the Moon.

The Moon passes very close to Mars each month. From a naked eye, one can only see a few degrees of space between them. According to astrologers, this space varies from place to place depending on where the phenomenon is being viewed from.

Such an occultation has occurred in the past few months, two of which were visible from Africa and South America respectively.

The lunar occultation on Saturday, on the other hand, will be visible from across India, Atul Bhat, coordinator of the Poornaprajna Amateur Astronomers’ Club in Udupi told The New Indian Express.

Interestingly, it was an occultation that led to the discovery of the rings of Uranus. Nasa’s Kuiper Airborne Observatory had discovered the planet’s rings when Uranus occulted a star.


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