Paracelsus' poison

Occultation of Saturn by the Moon Tonight (14 May, 2014)

The Moon at 8:02 pm ACST in Adelaide on 14 May just before the Moon covers Saturn. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. See table below for exact local times. Click to enlarge.


Telescopic view of the occultation. Saturns’ giant moon Titan is just about to go behind the Moon. Simulated in Stellarium. Click to enlarge.

Tonight (Wednesday 14 May) in the early evening Saturn is occulted (goes behind) by the Moon as seen from the most of Australia (and all of New Zealand). This is the second of these rare occultations, and is under reasonable dark skies, rather than daylight like
last time.

The Moon is a very obvious signpost where look and Saturn will be the brightest object near the Moon. Start watching about half an hour before hand to get set up and familiar with the sky.

Although this event is easily seen with the unaided eye, it is best seen in a small telescope so you can see the ringed world in detail as it vanishes behind the Moon. Saturn’s moon Titan will be occulted before Saturn, so you can see the Moon occult a moon.

As the occultation occurs in the early evening the Moon will be reasonably high above the north east horizon, a good time to show the kids this event. The Moon easily visible and a ready signpost to Saturn. While this even can be seen with the unaided eye, it is better in binoculars and best in a telescope (even a small one will do). It is advisable to set up and practise on the Moon early, so you are familar with your binocular or telescope set-up.

Set up at least half an hour ahead of time so that you can be sure everything is working well and you can watch the entire event comfortably (trying to focus your telescope on Saturn moments before the occultation will cause a lot of unnecessary stress). Saturn will be clearly visible in a telescope or binoculars near the Moon.

PlaceDisappears Dark Limb Reappears Bright Limb
Adelaide ACST20:0921:17
Brisbane AEST21:0521:35
Canberra AEST20:5322:00
Darwin ACST20:06 (graze)-
Hobart AEST20:5922:11
Melbourne AEST20:5022:00
Perth AWST18:2619:24
Sydney AEST20:5621:59

More cities in Australia and New Zealand cities can be found at the IOTA site (UT times only).