There was a fascinating event early in the morning of 8 December 2022. The full Moon occulted Mars, which was at opposition – a rare event indeed. Various ASE members braved the freezing early morning air to grab some amazing images. Mike McGovern took the image in the banner of this post.
The occultation started at 04:56 GMT as seen from Edinburgh and Mars re-appeared 1 hour later.
A bit of Mars occultation history:
Aristotle, a student of Plato, observed an occultation of Mars by the Moon on 4 May 357 BCE. From this he concluded that Mars must lie further from the Earth than the Moon. He noted that other such occultations of stars and planets had been observed by the Egyptians and Babylonians. Aristotle used this observational evidence to support the Greek sequencing of the planets.
Got a taste for occultations now? Well if you have nothing better to do on 1 January there is an occultation of Uranus by the Moon in the late evening. From in-the-sky.org:
On this occasion, the occultation will be visible from Edinburgh. It will begin with the disappearance of Uranus behind the Moon at 22:18 GMT in the south-western sky at an altitude of 43.8 degrees. Its reappearance will be visible at 23:07 GMT at an altitude of 38.6 degrees.
At the time of the occultation, the Moon will be 9 days past new moon and will be 78% illuminated. Uranus will disappear behind the unilluminated side of the Moon and reappear from behind the illuminated side of the Moon.