2010: May

The Moon-Venus Occultation

12:44 am PHT

Occul—what? An occultation is an astronomical event wherein a heavenly body passes in front of another and hides it from view. That’s what happened earlier tonight: an occultation of the Moon and Venus. Most people saw the very close conjunction (an astronomical term signifying that two objects appear near each other in the sky) and appreciated the beauty of a “star” on top of a crescent moon. You can actually see plenty of pictures and status messages about this relatively rare Moon-Venus event and there were observations that it reflected some Islamic flags or that it looked like a one-eyed smile. What most didn’t know (and missed) was that the “star” was actually Venus and that the occultation itself is much more interesting scientifically. (In addition, the Moon and Venus are the 1st and 2nd normally brightest objects in the night sky so this occultation is actually quite special.)

Read this entry »