Can’t wait! Chang’e Will Encounter Uranu Tonight

According to the astronomical forecast, the Moon will encounter and brush past Uranus on September 15, showing the grand view of lunar occultation. Astronomical experts said that the “occultation” process cannot be observed in China, but the interested public can see the view that the Moon is very close to Uranus from the evening of the 14th to the morning of the 15th.

The apparent diameter of the Moon is much larger than that of planets (or fixed stars), and the orbit of the Moon is close to that of planets, so the planets (or fixed stars) are often obscured when the Moon orbits the earth. This phenomenon is called a lunar occultation. Skywatchers can usually observe the lunar occultation of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and fixed stars such as Aldebaran, Regulus, and Antares. Lunar occultation of Uranus is uncommon because Uranus is far away from the sun and has low brightness.

Xiu Lipeng, a member of the Chinese Astronomical Society and director of the Tianjin Astronomical Society, said that the lunar occultation of Uranus took place in the morning of Beijing time, and the “occultation” can be observed in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. On the evening of September 14, skywatchers in China can appreciate the view that Uranus lies not far from the lower left of the Moon. By the daybreak on September 15, the Moon and Uranus will get closer and closer until they are submerged by the sunlight.

Since the Moon will gradually approach Uranus, the nearest distance between the two observed across China will be different. Taking Beijing as an example, the distance between Uranus and the Moon is about 1.4 degrees, which is nearly three times the apparent diameters of the full moon. The sun rises later as you go west, and the closer the Moon is to Uranus.

“This time, it is not difficult to observe the Moon accompanied by Uranus, and you can even photograph it. By then, the brightness of Uranus will reach 5.7 degrees, and the human eyes can see about 6 degrees of celestial objects. This means that when Uranus rises to a certain height, it can be faintly seen with the naked eye in places with excellent observation conditions. But it is better to use a small astronomical telescope to see the grand view of Uranus,” said Xiu Lipeng.

When will skywatchers in China have the chance to spot the lunar occultation of Uranus? You don’t have to wait too long. There will be such a good opportunity on November 8. “On November 8, a total lunar eclipse will happen, and the lunar occultation with Uranus will occur at the same time when the eclipse is greatest (the instant when the distance between the Moon’s shadow axis and Earth’s center reaches a minimum). Fortunately, the moon eclipse with Uranus can be seen by skywatchers in most of China,” said Xiu Lipeng.

Copyright by Zhengzhou Municipal Tourism Administration