Friday, May 6, 2011

Venus occultation

A Venus occultation is another type of celestial event which is similar to a Venus transit. In an occultation, the moon passes in front of Venus (or any other planet or star) and hides it. The moon appears to be much larger than Venus, of course and the occultation lasts about an hour, which is the time it takes the moon to move half a degree in the sky (The apparent size of the moon is about half a degree or 30 arc-minutes).
Both the transit and the occultation happens as all objects, Moon, Earth and Venus, are more or less on the same plane. If they were exactly on the same plane these events (and all other type of eclipses as well) would occur much more frequently.
The following video is a combination of several hundreds of photos which show a Venus occultation from 2007.
The next Venus occultation will be in 13-14 August 2012, and visible from many places on Earth.

Here are some photos as well
Venus just after the occultation
Venus just after the occultation