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Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Grazing Occultation of Neptune Thursday November 6th 2008

Special Electronic News Bulletin 2008 November 4

By Jon Harper
Occultation Section Director

Early in the evening of 6 November, observers in the north and west of
the UK will have an opportunity (weather permitting) to observe an
occultation of Neptune, while those in the south and east will see the
planet close to the southern limb of the Moon. The most interesting
place to be is on the graze line, which crosses the country from SW to
NE, from north Cornwall and north Devon, via south Wales, Stoke on
Trent, Barnsley and York to Whitby on the North Sea coast. In the
graze zone you may expect to see the planet dim and blink out several
times as it is successively hidden and then reappears behind mountains
on the Moon's dark southern limb. After leaving England, the graze
line continues towards the NE following the coastline of Norway.
I have produced a map showing the graze line crossing the country, and
another showing the position of the m(v) +7.9 planet in relation to
the gibbous waxing Moon's dark limb at the time. The maps may be seen
in the most recent issue of 'Popular Astronomy' or can be accessed
from the Occultation Section's website, via: or directly at: .

Approximate times (UT) of the grazing event for various UK places on
the line are as follows -- but it would be a good idea to set up and
locate Neptune 15 minutes or more before the predicted time: Lizard
Point 18:44, Barnstaple 18:46, Lynmouth 18:48, St Brides (S. Wales
coast) 18:49, Brecon 18:50, Stoke on Trent 18:51, Barnsley 18:52, York
18:53, Whitby 18:54. The altitude and azimuth of the event are about
22 and 183 degrees respectively, and the Moon's age is 8.8 days.
The next UK lunar occultation of Neptune is not until 2016 June 25
at around 23:55 UT.

Bulletin compiled by Clive Down

(c) 2008 the Society for Popular Astronomy.

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