May sees another occultation as the moon will be in position to black out Saturn on Wednesday. Prior to that event, Saturn will be visible near Earth’s natural satellite on Tuesday.
Occultation occurs when an object passes in front of another object and blocking it from the observer. On Wednesday, the Moon occults, passes in front of, Saturn and will block the planet from observers on Earth. In March, a 45-mile wide asteroid blacked out Regulus, one of the brightest stars in the night sky.
Tuesday night sees the almost full moon, a waxing gibbous, high up in the night sky and Saturn will be visible just to the left of the moon, reports Universe Today. The full moon of May, known as the Full Flower Moon, will occur on Wednesday. Earth Sky reports North America will not be able to view the precise moment of the full moon, which occurs at 3:16 p.m. EDT, but the waxing gibbous moon on Tuesday and waning gibbous moon on Wednesday will be pretty close to full. Universe Today recommends binoculars or a telescope to view Saturn on Tuesday.
Australia and New Zealand will be in prime position as the moon occults Saturn early Wednesday morning. For residents of the two countries, the lunar occultation will be visible with the naked eye but a telescope or binoculars will let observers view the rings of Saturn. The moon occults Saturn a few days after the planet made its closest approach to Earth. On May 10, Saturn was in opposition, opposite of the sun with the Earth in between, much like when Mars was in opposition in April.
While the occultation of Saturn will be visible to residents of Australia and New Zealand, viewers from around can tune into a live stream of the event. The Virtual Telescope Project will have a broadcast of the lunar occultation beginning at 6:15 a.m. EDT and can be viewed here.