June 30 was witness to a different type of celestial activity — occultation.
The celestial bodies are very busy. Weeks after we witnessed the lunar eclipse, it was time for the earth to witness the Venus “occultation”.
Technically speaking, it occurs when an object is hidden from view of the observer by a passing object with the objects involved being a combination of anything from the sun, stars, planets and satellites.
Along that term, an eclipse is an occultation.
The recent phenomenon (June 30) occurred when the moon came directly between Earth and its neighbour Venus, whence the planet took about 30 seconds to completely disappear behind the moon. “Occultation of Jupiter and Saturn have also been observed,” said Mr. Soundararajaperumal, Joint Director, Birla Planetarium.
The occultation was visible over Africa, West Asia and Asia. Though it is a spectacle easily visible to the naked eye or through binoculars, on this occasion, it being a day time event it was not possible to observe it.
This being the case, Birla Planetarium, which usually organises special programmes to enable the public to view the events that take place in space, carried on with its routine activities. “During the lunar eclipse we were open through the night for people to come and see the event,” said Mr. Soundararajaperumal.
Maybe we will get lucky with the next one predicted to occur on February 26, 2014.