This Friday, October 9, at dawn the Moon will move in front of Venus and hide, or occult, it. These occultations of Venus are visible from Earth once or twice per year, yet from any one location, such as Sydney, it can be about 5 to 10 years between occurrences. This occultation is visible from most of Australia except Western Australia.
All times below are in AEDT and are specific for Sydney
To see this event look towards the eastern sky before dawn. The Moon rises at 4:12am with Venus, hot on its heels, rising at 4:16am.
At 5:31 the Moon moves in front of Venus and the occultation begins. Venus is very bright at present so should be visible to the eye beside the Moon. However, binoculars will provide a fantastic view of this event. Venus is in its crescent phase and so you will see the crescent Venus disappear behind the bright edge of the waning crescent Moon!
At 6:54am Venus reappears from behind the Moon, this time against the dark edge of the Moon. However, sunrise is at 6:23am so this reappearance is in full daylight and more difficult to observe.
*If you are using binoculars to view the reappearance please take great care not to look at the Sun! Viewing the sun with binoculars may result in permanent & irreversible eye damage. If you use binoculars to view the reappearance ensure you and the binoculars are within the shadow of a house or other object while looking toward the Moon and Venus.
If the weather is cloudy and you miss this occultation we only have to wait, this time, until September 18 in 2017 for the next one.
For locations other than Sydney Ian Musgrave has provided a table of disappearance and reappearance times but note the times are all in standard time – add an hour if you are in daylight saving time.
Ian Musgrave reported his observations.