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Lunar occultations of Mercury

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#1 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 12:33 AM

Sideposting here from my earlier post:

 

https://www.cloudyni...-on-2021-11-03/

 

How rare are visible Lunar occultations of Mercury from a given location?

 

Using the Occult software, I was only able to find three within the next 10 years for the location of Washington, DC, USA.  I am not sure how accurate that is though.

 

2021-11-03T15:49-04, Solar elongation 15 deg, altitude 19 deg, apparent magnitude -0.46, 2% Lunar phase, 85% Mercurian phase

 

2022-10-24T10:17-04, Solar elongation 10 deg, altitude 35 deg, apparent magnitude -0.83, 1% Lunar phase, 94% Mercurian phase

 

2030-04-04T09:51-04, Solar elongation 19 deg, altitude 26 deg, apparent magnitude +0.22, 3% Lunar phase, 40% Mercurian phase

 

I figure the Solar elongation is the most important factor for safety, making the occultation of November 3 the best one until 2030, at least for observers in Maryland, USA.

 



#2 Arcamigo

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 01:58 AM

Maybe one more on:

 

2461768.18 2027-12-28 11:25:00-05:00

 

I got agreement with your dates, so your software is probably accurate.



#3 Thomas Marshall

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 02:35 AM

I ran your Nov. 3rd event for my location in AZ  on Stellarium, and it looks like it just grazes the new moon early afternoon. I don't see how I could observe it.



#4 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 02:51 AM

I ran your Nov. 3rd event for my location in AZ  on Stellarium, and it looks like it just grazes the new moon early afternoon. I don't see how I could observe it.

 

It depends on the location.  For November 3, the map of locations is:

 

http://www.lunar-occ...ets/mercury.png

 

Occult is buggy on my system and I get a lot of error messages when I try to run the software, so I'm not sure if the results I get are accurate or not.  Specifically, it says that there will be no Lunar occultations of planets (for any planet, not just Mercury) from 2026 to 2030, at least from Washington, DC, USA.  Could that be an error?  Occult also gave me some Europa transits of Jupiter that showed as below the horizon on Stellarium.

 

Are there any other software applications that can predict these events?  It would be nice if I could double-check the results.  I can confirm the dates and times on Stellarium, but not if events are missing.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 04 October 2021 - 02:54 AM.


#5 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 02:58 AM

I ran your Nov. 3rd event for my location in AZ  on Stellarium, and it looks like it just grazes the new moon early afternoon. I don't see how I could observe it.

 

Very difficult and dangerous.  Best to find a way to obstruct the Sun, but a computerized Lunar-tracking mount is best (for an actual occultation, same as an ISS transit of Luna).  Either way, you should not attempt visual observation.  Only use a camera.  Worst-case scenario if the telescope gets bumped 14 degrees Sunward, then only the equipment is destroyed and not your eyesight.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 04 October 2021 - 02:59 AM.

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#6 Thomas Marshall

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 03:55 AM

I only do visual.  I did catch the transit on Nov 11th when it went down though.



#7 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 05:16 AM

I went all the way to 2040.  There is another big gap with no occultations at all (for any planet) from 2031 to 2036.  Not sure if that is normal or an error in the software.

 

For Mercury from 2021 to 2039, I have only four Lunar occultations: 2021, 2022, 2030, and 2037 (no more than one event per year).

 

From a sample of 18 years (from 2021 to 2039), that averages to a Lunar occultation of Mercury about once every 5 years (as observed from Washington, DC, USA).

 

My main concern is whether the Occult software is accurate or not, since I don't have a way to check for missing events or errors.


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#8 Arcamigo

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 08:43 AM

My main concern is whether the Occult software is accurate or not, since I don't have a way to check for missing events or errors.

I think your software is accurate. I checked your dates against code I wrote that uses USNO NOVAS and JPL's DE440 ephemerides. Maybe the reason your software didn't give the date I listed above is because its solar elongation is about 9.5 degrees and it's only listing events for greater elongations. There are also events in 2035 and 2038, but maybe your software is filtering for other parameters also. The one in 2038 is 3.1 degrees above the horizon. The other has 24.2' of separation, but the moon is only 29.95' wide on that day.


Edited by Arcamigo, 04 October 2021 - 08:55 AM.


#9 beggarly

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 04:21 AM

Results from Coelix Apex ( https://www.ngc7000....oelix/index.htm )

 

Lunar occultations.

Times are given in standard time for Washington (77° 6' 0" W. 38° 54' 0" N. zone R).

Limiting magnitude night 6.5 day 2.5.

 

 

Date        Hour    Designation       Cons.  Magn.  Ph.  Illum.  Elong.     Elev.  Azim.
yyyy mm dd  hh:mm                                          %       °          °      °

2020 02 18  07:26   Mars              Sgr    1.42   D    23.7     58.2° W   26.0   165.7
2020 02 18  08:58   Mars              Sgr    1.42   R    23.4     57.7° W   26.8   188.8
2021 11 03  14:49   Mercury           Vir    -0.84  D     1.8     15.1° W   18.5   242.3
2021 11 03  15:39   Mercury           Vir    -0.84  R     1.7     14.7° W    9.7   250.8
2022 10 24  09:17   Mercury           Vir    -1.12  D     0.8     10.2° W   36.6   141.9
2022 10 24  10:33   Mercury           Vir    -1.12  R     0.7      9.7° W   42.9   164.7
2023 04 19  12:57   Jupiter           Psc    -2.02  D     0.3      5.9° W   55.3   211.4
2023 04 19  13:47   Jupiter           Psc    -2.02  R     0.2      5.6° W   49.3   228.6
2023 05 17  06:34   Jupiter           Psc    -2.06  D     5.3     26.4° W   32.1   103.5
2023 05 17  07:44   Jupiter           Psc    -2.06  R     5.1     25.9° W   44.8   117.6
2023 09 16  14:10   Mars              Vir    1.98   D     2.8     19.2° E   44.6   199.6
2023 09 16  15:32   Mars              Vir    1.98   R     2.9     19.6° E   36.0   223.6
2024 04 07  11:34   Venus             Psc    -3.91  D     1.8     15.4° W   50.5   186.9
2024 04 07  12:45   Venus             Psc    -3.91  R     1.7     14.9° W   46.2   212.5
2025 01 13  21:16   Mars              Gem    -1.38  D    99.8    177.4° W   46.7    93.7
2025 01 13  22:31   Mars              Gem    -1.38  R    99.8    177.0° W   60.5   109.1
2026 06 17  14:47   Venus             Cnc    -4.02  D    10.8     38.2° E   72.1   174.1
2026 06 17  16:11   Venus             Cnc    -4.02  R    11.0     38.7° E   65.8   226.7
2026 09 08  14:01   Jupiter           Cnc    -1.81  D     7.2     31.1° W   35.1   263.7
2026 09 08  15:01   Jupiter           Cnc    -1.81  R     7.0     30.6° W   23.6   272.9
2026 10 06  03:20   Jupiter           Leo    -1.91  D    19.9     52.8° W   17.2    84.0
2026 10 06  04:25   Jupiter           Leo    -1.91  R    19.5     52.3° W   29.4    94.0
2027 08 01  09:38   Mercury           Cnc    -1.38  D     0.9     11.1° W   60.5   117.8
2027 08 01  11:09   Mercury           Cnc    -1.39  R     0.8     10.5° W   71.7   162.6
2027 12 28  10:37   Mercury           Sgr    -0.90  D     0.7      9.4° E   19.0   147.9
2027 12 28  12:14   Mercury           Sgr    -0.90  R     0.8      9.8° E   25.8   169.8
2031 04 24  07:59   Saturn            Tau    0.13   D     8.1     33.0° E    8.3    70.8
2031 04 24  08:51   Saturn            Tau    0.13   R     8.3     33.4° E   17.7    78.0
2031 09 13  03:17   Venus             Cnc    -4.57  D    10.9     38.2° W    4.5    78.2
2031 09 13  04:20   Venus             Cnc    -4.58  R    10.7     37.7° W   16.3    87.7
2031 10 17  07:46   Mercury           Lib    -0.41  R     1.9     15.7° E    0.0   110.7
2036 10 15  08:03   Saturn            Leo    0.64   D    19.9     52.9° W   62.3   160.8
2037 01 05  07:38   Saturn            Leo    0.36   D    84.4    133.4° W   28.3   262.5
2037 01 05  08:35   Saturn            Leo    0.36   R    84.1    132.9° W   17.5   271.3
2037 02 28  21:27   Saturn            Leo    0.10   D    98.8    167.5° E   51.9   122.9
2037 02 28  22:34   Saturn            Leo    0.10   R    98.9    167.9° E   60.8   147.0
2037 05 21  19:17   Saturn            Leo    0.53   D    45.8     85.1° E   60.9   217.5
2037 05 21  20:14   Saturn            Leo    0.53   R    46.1     85.4° E   52.6   237.6
2037 11 27  05:12   Jupiter           Cnc    -2.48  D    79.5    126.1° W   64.4   230.8
2037 11 27  06:07   Jupiter           Cnc    -2.48  R    79.3    125.8° W   55.5   248.1
2038 05 09  22:06   Jupiter           Gem    -2.01  D    28.4     64.3° E   19.9   282.5
2038 05 09  23:04   Jupiter           Gem    -2.01  R    28.8     64.8° E    9.4   290.4
2038 12 24  15:04   Mercury           Oph    -0.48  D     2.3     17.2° W    5.4   235.7


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#10 John Lowe

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 10:23 AM

Here's a notable nighttime occultation in the not too distant future...

 

Next year, on the night of December 7th, 2022 at about 11 PM EST,  there is a spectacular grazing occultation of Mars by the southern limp of the full Moon.   Mars will be in Taurus at opposition at -1.9 magnitude and have an apparent diameter of 17".  A road trip would be needed from Washington, DC, USA as the graze track passes through Pennsylvania, New York, and New England.  It's a near miss from DC.

 

John


Edited by John Lowe, 05 October 2021 - 08:22 PM.


#11 Arcamigo

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 10:41 AM

The table above is missing these occultations:

 

2462596.077 2030-04-04 9:51
2464365.175 2035-02-06 08:12

 

You can check a date with JPL Horizons.


Edited by Arcamigo, 05 October 2021 - 10:45 AM.

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