The Moon does not only eclipse the Sun.

Earth's natural satellite, which is close to our planet, can also hide planets.

This will be the case for Mars this Thursday, December 8, reports TF1.

While a few days ago, the red planet passed closest to Earth, at about 81.4 million kilometers, it will be eclipsed for a little over an hour.


If it frequently happens that the lunar orbit merges with that of Mars, a lunar occultation when the red planet is at the exact opposite of the sun (at the opposition) is much rarer, points out Sky and Space.

This will be precisely the case this Thursday morning.

When the sun is between the two planets, visibility is reduced, but on that day the earth will be between the sun and Mars, which makes the latter perfectly observable.

The Moon will then gradually obscure the red planet.


Thursday, December 8, the #Moon will overshadow #Mars.

At the beginning and at the end, the lunar craters will be visible at the same time as the red planet at the telescope.



We will broadcast the event live with @safastrofrance @Obs_Paris @ObsCoteAzur @PicduMidi https://t.co/PzGOgwHp1K pic.twitter.com/K0Tq8nQP24

— Dr. Miguel Montargès 🔭✨📡 (@Astro_MiguelM) December 5, 2022

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Three stars almost aligned

The phenomenon will begin at 6:09 a.m., French time, and will end one hour later.

Shortly before, Mars will approach the lunar disk to disappear behind it, then reappear.

Throughout this time, the Earth, Moon and Mars will be almost perfectly aligned.



To correctly observe the occultation, it will of course be necessary that the sky is clear and look towards the northwest horizon where Mars will be.

It is always preferable to have an astronomical instrument, but the phenomenon is also observable with the naked eye.

During this eclipse, it will be possible to follow the path of the red planet using the Star Walk 2 mobile application, available on iOS and Android.

This indicates the position of the planets in real time and in augmented reality.




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