Venus occultation: Planet of love has another hot date in night sky tonight
After kissing Jupiter earlier this month, Venus has another hot date lined up in the night sky tonight.
The planet of love will cuddle up to the Moon before disappearing behind it for just over an hour on Friday night.
The phenomenon, known as a lunar occultation, will occur from 6.37pm to 7.45pm and be visible from Bangkok and the rest of Thailand – clear skies permitting.
The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Narit) said people will be able to observe the occultation with their naked eye or via telescope.
"The Moon will gradually occult Venus at 6.37pm before moving away at 7.45pm," Narit said, adding that the precise occultation time will differ according to the viewer’s location.
An occultation is an event that occurs when one object is hidden from the observer by another that passes between them, Narit explained. The phenomenon is useful to astronomers as it can be used to calculate the object’s diameter and the distance between Earth and Moon. Even better, an occultation offers a chance to study atmospheric structure and planetary rings.
"This phenomenon is a rare occurrence, especially in Thailand," Narit said.
It also invited people to watch the occultation for free at observatories around Thailand, which will be open from 6pm to 10pm tonight. These include the Princess Sirindhorn AstroPark in Chiang Mai and regional observatories in Nakhon Ratchasima, Chachoengsao and Songkhla. People can also visit Narit's Facebook page to watch the phenomenon online from 6pm.