Join the occult (Dec. 7th/8th, Moon will occult Mars.)

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In summary, the Moon will occult Mars on the evening of Wednesday, December 7th for Canada and the US, and the early morning of Thursday, December 8th for Europe. The exact times will vary due to the parallax of different locations on Earth. It will be visible as an impressive conjunction and may make for interesting shots for astrophotographers. However, it may also interfere with photographing Mars on its own. Unfortunately, the event will not be visible from the speaker's back patio, but they may try to capture it from the front if possible. One source of frustration is that someone has snuck a Magic: The Gathering card into their Tarot deck, but they hope for a better card in the coming days
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collinsmark
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The Moon will occult Mars in less than a week for a good chunk of the northern hemisphere.

That's the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 7th, for all of Canada and much of the United States.

That's the wee morning hours of Thursday, Dec. 8th, for much of Europe.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/on-december-7-the-moon-will-photobomb-mars/

iota%20lunar%20occultation%20vis%20map.png


The image above implies that the event will happen at 04:25.1 UT, but even when correcting for you time zone, the times will still vary due to the parallax of where your location is on Earth (the Earth is not a single point).

Here's a rough list of some cities. Times are approximate, and I haven't double checked anything, so you might be better off getting out your planetarium software.
[tex]
\begin{array}{|c|c|c|}
\hline \mathrm{City} & \mathrm{Disappearance} & \mathrm{Reappearance} \\
\hline \mathrm{Augusta} & \mathrm{10:57 \ PM} & \mathrm{11:25 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{Austin} & \mathrm{8:58 \ PM} & \mathrm{9:12 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{Buffalo} & \mathrm{10:32 \ PM} & \mathrm{11:13 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{Chicago} & \mathrm{9:10 \ PM} & \mathrm{10:04 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{Columbus} & \mathrm{10:26 \ PM} & \mathrm{10:56 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{Denver} & \mathrm{7:45 \ PM} & \mathrm{8:47 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{Indianapolis} & \mathrm{10:16 \ PM} & \mathrm{10:56 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{Kansas \ City} & \mathrm{8:57 \ PM} & \mathrm{9:51 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{Little \ Rock} & \mathrm{9:06 \ PM} & \mathrm{9:32 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{Los \ Angeles} & \mathrm{6:31 \ PM} & \mathrm{7:30 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{Pheonix} & \mathrm{7:32 \ PM} & \mathrm{8:30 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{Salt \ Lake \ City} & \mathrm{7:42 \ PM} & \mathrm{8:45 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{San Antonio} & \mathrm{8:59 \ PM} & \mathrm{9:07 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{San \ Francisco} & \mathrm{6:36 \ PM} & \mathrm{7:35 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{Seattle} & \mathrm{6:53 \ PM} & \mathrm{7:50 \ PM} \\
\hline \mathrm{London} & \mathrm{05:00} & \mathrm{05:59} \\
\hline \mathrm{Paris} & \mathrm{06:05} & \mathrm{07:02} \\
\hline \mathrm{Stockholm} & \mathrm{05:54} & \mathrm{06:43} \\
\hline \mathrm{Hamburg} & \mathrm{05:59} & \mathrm{06:55} \\
\hline \mathrm{Berlin} & \mathrm{06:01} & \mathrm{06:55} \\
\hline \mathrm{Warsaw} & \mathrm{06:02} & \mathrm{06:53} \\
\hline \mathrm{Prague} & \mathrm{06:04} & \mathrm{06:59} \\
\hline
\end{array}
[/tex]

A couple of interesting coincidences:
  • The moon will be full.
  • Mars will be at opposition.
Those are just coincidences, though. Occultations, in general, have nothing to do with full moons or oppositions. They're just interesting quirks in this case.

This event presents some good points and bad points.
  • Bad points: If you're a planetary astrophotographer, and you're tying to image Mars, on its own, when it's near opposition, the moon might get in the way. Don't fret too much though. Try a day or two before the event; moon glare has little effect on planetary astrophotography. (Mars just past closest approach a couple days ago, so get out there as soon as possible.)
  • Good points: If you're good at planetary astrophotography, it might make for some interesting shots with Mars right next to the very edge of the Moon (albeit tricky to get the exposure right). It also might be a good thing if you're into the occult, I'm guessing.

A personal bad point for me is that the event will not be visible from my back patio, since my building will be in the way. So I don't plan on photographing the event. Given my recent surgery, hauling my equipment out front is not in the cards* for me this time. So you're on your own for this event. You'll need to see it for yourself.

*(Etymologically speaking, "in the cards" is a Tarot reference.)

Even if you're not in the region of the world to view the occultation, it should make a particularly impressive conjunction.

2022-11-30-0851_0_Mars_Final_ForPF.jpg

My latest Mars image, from my back patio, 2022-11-30 08:51.0 UT.
 
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collinsmark said:
A personal bad point for me is that the event will not be visible from my back patio, since my building will be in the way. So I don't plan on photographing the event.
I think Mars will just barely be visible in between some trees for me. Maybe I'll break out the telescope and snap a few images if the sky is clear. We'll see.
 
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collinsmark said:
"in the cards" is a Tarot reference
I consulted my Tarot deck, and pulled this card:

Sea of clouds.jpg


Someone must have snuck a Magic: The Gathering card into my deck.
I hope I'll pull a better card in the coming days, but things do not look promising over here.
 
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1. What is an occultation?

An occultation occurs when one celestial body passes in front of another, resulting in the blocking of the light from the background body. In this case, the Moon will pass in front of Mars, causing it to temporarily disappear from view.

2. When will the occultation of Mars by the Moon occur?

The occultation will occur on December 7th or 8th, depending on your location. The exact time will vary depending on your time zone, but it is expected to take place in the early morning hours.

3. Can I see the occultation with the naked eye?

Yes, the occultation of Mars by the Moon will be visible to the naked eye. However, it is recommended to use binoculars or a telescope for a better view.

4. How often do occultations occur?

Occultations are relatively common events in astronomy, with several occurring each year. However, the specific timing and visibility of each occultation can vary.

5. What can we learn from the occultation of Mars by the Moon?

Occultations can provide valuable information about the size, shape, and surface features of celestial bodies. In this case, the occultation of Mars by the Moon can help us better understand the topography and composition of Mars' surface.

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