Venus Occultation by Moon

On the 16th of May 2010, an interesting celestial event – the lunar occultation of Venus, will take place in daylight hours. All of India falls within the belt of occultation.

A lunar occultation is when Moon passes in front of a celestial object – which in the case of this event, is Venus.

Well, it also happens that all of India will be witness to this event in daylight hours which would make viewing the event a difficult enterprise.

As seen from Delhi, Venus will slip behind the Moon at 3:51PM and emerge from behind the Moon at 5:18 PM. Viewing this event requires a precise knowledge of where in the sky Moon and Venus are at any given time. If one looks exactly in that direction; and the sky is clear, without any dust or haze, one can see the thin crescent Moon and even Venus, with the naked eyes, in daytime. On any day when Venus is in the daytime sky, if the sky is a clear blue and one knows the exact location of Venus in the sky,- one can see daytime.

How is one going to look exactly at the correct location in the sky? Well, the Ram Yantra at the Jantar Mantar observatory can help people look at specific directions in the sky.

People from the Nehru Planetarium, the Amateur Astronomers Association, Delhi and the Science Popularization Association of Communicators and Educators, will be at Jantar Mantar to help visitors use the Ram Yantra, to view this event.

There will also be telescopes set up at the observatory. Even if dust and haze prevent one from viewing the event in the daytime, people visiting the observatory in the evening can enjoy telescopic views of the close conjunction of the Moon and Venus immediately after sunset.