Grazing occultation of Jupiter, Sunday 15 July

On Sunday morning, 2012 July 15, observers in southern Britain will have the chance to see a rare and splendid sight: Jupiter and its moons gliding behind the rugged horizon of the Moon’s north pole.  This is one of a series of lunar occultations of Jupiter, and the only one which will be visible in a dark or twilight sky from the UK.  The northern limit crosses England, giving a grazing occultation along a broad band from East Anglia to SE Wales and Cornwall.  Times will vary considerably from place to place, but the full event spans approx. 01:51 to 02:22 UT (02:51 to 03:22 BST) (from disappearance of the first satellite to reappearance of the last satellite at Greenwich).

Full details of the grazing occultation were published by Jan Meeus in the Journal of the BAA, vol.122, p.31 (2012 Feb.).

The full occultation is visible for observers all over Europe except Scandinavia, and details are posted at:

Imaging the event will be a challenge, as the movement will be too fast for normal planetary imaging techniques, and it will be at low altitude in the dawn sky.  Short monochrome exposures with a red or infrared filter would optimise the sharpness and brightness of Jupiter. These could then be combined with colour channels from longer exposures just before or after the occultation, to produce L(IR)RGB images. If you produce images, please record how they were made. Drawings will also be welcome.

John Rogers

BAA Jupiter Section Director

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