Moon to come directly between Earth and Venus

A rare sight awaits astro-enthusiasts on Thursday when the thin crescent moon will come directly between Earth and Venus and Venus will be right behind the moon.

The event could be seen first at Kandla in Gujarat, at 1:03 p.m. and Silchar would be one of the last places to witness the phenomenon at 1:57 p.m., Arvind Paranjpye of Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics told PTI.

In the capital, Venus will be covered by the bright edge of the moon at 13:18:59 hours and emerge from its dark side at 14:41:55 hours, C.B. Devgun of SPACE said.

The longest duration of Venus occultation will be at Japal Rangapore in Andhra Pradesh, where the planet will disappear at 12:13:34 p.m. and reappear at 15:04:19 hours. The spectacle can be seen only if the sky is clear. An occultation is an event that occurs when one object is hidden by another that passes between it and the observer, according to Mr. Devgun.

Across the globe, the occultation would be visible in Africa, Middle East and Asia. In western Africa, it could be seen before sunrise, while other countries would witness it during the day time. The first place to witness the event would be Tripoli. It would take about 30 seconds for the planet to disappear completely behind the moon and same time to reappear again, he said.

The event can be seen with a pair of binoculars.

The last Venus occultations seen from India were on June 18, 2007, and May 16, 2010 (during daytime). The next occultation would happen on February 26, 2014, R.C. Kapoor of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics said.

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