This Wednesday, September 14, Uranus disappeared for three and a half hours in Earth’s sky for people living in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia.
The total disappearance of the seventh planet of the solar system was only noticed in these regions of the globe because they were the privileged areas to have the correct angle to see the ice giant pass behind the Moon, an event called lunar occultation.
The astronomical phenomenon occurred between 8:41 pm (UTC) and ended on Thursday, September 15 at 12:11 am (UTC).
“The lunar occultations are only visible from a small fraction of the Earth’s surface,” indicates a note from the In The Sky portal.
“Since the Moon is much closer to Earth than other celestial objects, its exact position in the sky differs depending on its exact location on Earth due to its large parallax.”
As it is the penultimate planet in our stellar neighborhood, the event was only visible with telescopes or binoculars.
Countries that could not enjoy the event, such as Peru, can revive it with the live broadcast of the Virtual Telescope Projectwho captured images from Rome.
When the phenomenon occurred, the Moon, in its waning gibbous phase, was illuminated by 56%; meanwhile, Uranus had a magnitude of 5.8.
As we pointed out in a previous note, the apparent brightness of a celestial object depends on its magnitude, which is the amount of light received by observing instruments. The lower the magnitude, the brighter we will observe.
During the month of September, the second most luminous object in the celestial vault, after the Moon, will be Jupiter, which will reach its closest proximity to Earth.