Mars shines brightly in night sky as it disappears behind moon | Tech News

Skywatchers witnessed the spectacular sight of Mars disappearing behind the moon.

The event, which astronomers call an occultation, occurred last night and was visible from parts of the United States, northwestern South America, the Caribbean and Mexico.

Similar to a lunar eclipse, when the Earth is exactly between the Moon and the Sun, an occultation sees the Moon appear to pass in front of the red planet.

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It disappeared for about an hour before reappearing from the opposite side.

The moment was captured by the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, which broadcast the event live online.

During the occultation, the Moon and Mars appear extraordinarily bright in the night sky.

The Moon is nearly 75 percent illuminated, while Mars is more than 90 percent illuminated — which helps it be seen with the naked eye.

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Are there more occultations?

Lunar occultations of such planets are relatively rare compared to those involving stars.

According to the website In The Sky, which provides forecasts for these events, the moon will pass in front of Jupiter on the night of February 22.

It is expected to be visible from Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands.

The next Mars occultation will take place on February 28, but visibility will be limited to Greenland, the frigid Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard and parts of western Russia.

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But Britons may have a chance to spot Jupiter on May 17, when the occultation will be visible from northern Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately, it happened to be in the middle of the day, making viewing conditions even more difficult.

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