The Red Planet briefly disappeared at the back of the moon for skywatchers in North America on Tuesday (Feb. 18), offering an uncommon celestial deal with for early risers and astrophotographers.
This sport of cosmic “peekaboo” started early Tuesday morning when the sun had already risen above the U.S. East Coast, and Mars had mostly light into the daylight. Nevertheless, skywatchers out west had a lot better view of the planet because it was “eclipsed” by the moon — however, these observers needed to get up properly earlier than the morning time to witness the occasion, which is called an occultation.
In Sedona, Arizona, astrophotographer Victor Rogus took a video of Mars peeping out from behind the moon on the finish of the occultation. “Early this morning, we noticed the planet Mars because it rose over the darkish limb of our moon,” Rogus advised House.com. “The occultation began, for us in Sedona, whereas the moon and planet had been low on the horizon and within the bushes. Nevertheless, the pair have been positioned excessive within the sky for the tip of the occasion,” about an hour later.
About 200 miles (370 kilometers) down the highway in Tucson, Arizona, astrophotographer B.G. Boyd caught an unobstructed view of the start of the occultation, which began there at 4:38 a.m. native time.
Boyd’s pictures present the Red Planet inching towards the decrease limb of the waning, crescent moon. On-time, the moon’s face was about 24% illuminated by daylight.
For skywatchers in the remainder of the world, the place the moon didn’t go immediately in the entrance of Mars, the celestial pair made an in-depth method within the evening sky. Mars was alongside the moon, that means the two objects shared the identical celestial longitude, at eight:17 a.m. EST (1317 GMT).
The moon will as soon as once more be along with Mars on March 18, on an identical day that our pure satellite shall be together with Jupiter and Saturn. The three planets will huddle across the waning crescent within the predawn sky.