How To View The ‘Lunar Occultation’ Of Uranus Safely

In simply the primary hours of 2023, a extremely fascinating sky present can be taking place between the moon and the planet Uranus. If you happen to and the youngsters sit up for fascinating issues within the sky, right here’s what it is advisable to know in regards to the upcoming lunar occultation, together with vital security info.

What’s a lunar occultation?

In response to In-The-Sky.org, an occultation “refers to any astronomical occasion by which one object seems hidden behind one other.” It’s not the identical factor as an eclipse, which occurs when a shadow is solid, “equivalent to when the Moon’s shadow falls over Earth throughout a photo voltaic eclipse.”

Lunar occultation occurs when the Moon covers the view from one other object — on this case, Uranus will disappear behind the Moon.

When is the lunar occultation taking place?

The upcoming lunar occultation will occur on January 1, beginning at 3:29 pm EST, when Uranus will disappear behind the un-illuminated facet of the Moon.

The occasion gained’t be seen from all over the place, although. In response to In-The-Sky.org, “lunar occultations are solely ever seen from a small fraction of the Earth’s floor.” The reason being that the Moon is basically near Earth, so the place within the sky is totally different relying on the place you reside.

The lunar occultation can be most seen in Europe, Canada, and round New York Metropolis. Uranus will reappear from behind the Moon on the illuminated facet of the moon round 4:37 pm EST.

How can I watch the lunar occultation with the youngsters?

Since Uranus isn’t seen to the bare eye on Earth, in case you and the youngsters wish to watch Uranus disappear behind the Moon, you’ll want binoculars or a telescope.

In response to EarthSky, Uranus is straightforward to identify with binoculars. “You in all probability want a telescope to pick its disk form; keep in mind, solely stars are pinpoints,” the web site defined. “However binoculars ought to improve its colour; it shines with greenish-blue hue.”

Keep in mind vital security info when trying on the sky when the Solar is out.

Chances are high many of the sky reveals you and the youngsters see are within the night hours when the solar has already gone down. We’re used to trying up on the sky when taking a look at meteor showers and full moons with the bare eye — and safely.

Nevertheless, when trying up on the sky in the course of the day, when the Solar continues to be out, it’s vital to remind the youngsters how harmful it’s to take a look at the Solar, particularly when utilizing binoculars or a telescope.

“Photo voltaic radiation damages the retina,” Dr. Joseph Chacko, an ophthalmologist on the UAMS Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, advised the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “Daylight damages the attention as its mild is concentrated by the cornea and lens onto the central retina, or macula, the place it causes a retinal burn, which then types a scar.”

Wanting on the lunar occultation doesn’t imply you must look anyplace close to the Solar, however when now we have our telescopes and binoculars out in the course of the day, errors can occur. And even an unintentional have a look at the Solar with binoculars or a telescope can cause permanent blindness.

“In case you are utilizing a telescope, make sure that any small finder telescope is capped,” the European Space Agency suggests. “If you happen to’re utilizing binoculars, maintain the duvet on one of many two tubes.”