It’s barely a week since Cassini self-destruction. Also, it’s barely a month since the United States experienced a complete solar eclipse. There are more exciting news for people who love these phenomena as NASA has announced that the moon will be blocking Venus, Mars and Mercury momentarily. However, it will be difficult to experience this phenomenon. These events should help us appreciate our solar system and remind us of the cosmic clockwork. Scientists refer this event as lunar occultation. For starters, lunar occultation involves the moon passing in front of a celestial object. However, NASA says that there are many factors that affect the duration of the process. Two known factors involve the position you are on earth to view the event as well as the object being blocked by the sun. The solar eclipse we experienced last month is just a reminder of the moon phenomena. The only difference with the one that we will experience this week is that these celestial objects are weaker in illumination compared to the sun. Also, solar eclipse poses more risks to people’s eyes. However, when in the right viewing place as well as with the right equipment, lunar occultations are beautiful to watch.
This week’s event is a rare one. The latest of its kind last happened on 5th March, 2008. The moon slid past Mercury, Venus and Neptune. The next phenomena of this kind is expected to occur in 2036. This is according to information that was released by EarthSky. Few hours after the moon has passed Venus, it will also block Regulus which is the brightest star in Leo constellation. American Museum of Natural History astrophysicist Jackie Faharty said that the process will resemble a dance in the sky. Going by the Eastern Time Zone, the Universe Today reported that the phenomena will be experienced between Sunday evening and Monday evening. However, the process will occur on some parts of the globe meaning that the occultations are hard to catch. Should you be in the places where the process will occur, you should be able to view the phenomena using a small telescope. According to information released by the International Occultation Timing Association, the phenomena will be visible in one of the following places. Venus occultation will be visible in Southern Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. The Middle East, India and Southern Asia will experience the Regulus occultation. Mars will be visible from Mexico and Hawaii. Finally, Mercury occultation will be visible from the Pacific Ocean.