The brightest celestial body that the Moon can cover is, of course, the Sun. Partial, total or annular solar eclipses occur at least twice a year, but they are visible only in some parts of the Earth’s daytime hemisphere. The second-brightest luminary, from time to time disappearing behind the lunar disk, is the nearest planet, Venus. This event, provided the weather is cloudless, will be visible from all over Ukraine on the afternoon of November 9, 2023.
The disappearance of Venus behind the lunar disk is less common than solar eclipses and is also not observable on the entire hemisphere of our planet, where the Moon is above the horizon (since the diameter of the Earth is almost four times the diameter of its natural satellite). Occultation on November 9 will be visible almost throughout Europe, except for Spain and Portugal, as well as in north-west Africa, the Caucasus and the Middle East. In all these areas, the phenomenon will occur in the presence of the Sun, but due to the high brightness of the Moon and the planet it covers, this will not be a significant obstacle — even a small telescope or binoculars give you an opportunity to admire an interesting celestial phenomenon. It will be observed in the dark sky only in Greenland and in the north of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
The moon during occultation will have the phase of a thin sickle, illuminated by only 15% of its diameter, and will cover Venus with its bright edge. Venus will also not have a “full” appearance; its phase will be almost 60%. For observers in Kyiv, it will begin to disappear behind the lunar disk at about 12 hours and 10 minutes local time (for different parts of the city, the time may differ by 10–15 seconds), while being 25° above the southwestern sector of the horizon. The height of the Sun at this moment will be slightly more than 22°. In Lviv, the phenomenon will begin a little earlier — at 12:06 p.m. Our luminary will be a little lower there at this time, the Moon will be higher, and in general, in the west of Ukraine, the conditions for observing this occultation will be more favorable. Interestingly, both celestial bodies will be in the sky less than 2° from the point of the autumnal equinox, but it will be impossible to see this somehow.
Venus will appear from behind the dark lunar edge, and it will be easier to notice this despite the fact that the Moon will get significantly lower by that time. The sun will also cross the meridian and begin to decline, but this will not make it easier to observe.
If there is a clear sky, we advise you to try to see this “eclipse in miniature”, especially since it does not require any powerful astronomical instruments. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to be seen with the naked eye. We will be able to observe the next occultation of Venus from the territory of Ukraine on September 19, 2025, also in the daytime sky.
Recall that last month, we could see how the Moon was covering the bright star Antares from the territory of Ukraine.
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