July 13, 2024

Chart of Libra, Virgo and Coma Berenices

This week, the first quarter moon will make a close pass to Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, the virgin. The chart shows the view looking west/southwest from London at 23:00 (BST) on the evening of 13 July.

The moon will creep closer to the star as midnight passes and we move into the early morning hours of July 14, but the constellation will also set quickly. The moon will be about 7.5 days old and almost exactly 50% of its visible surface will be illuminated.

For observers in much of North and Central America, the moon will pass directly in front of Spica, obscuring it from view. Such an occultation is not uncommon among these few celestial objects, but it is nonetheless a remarkably evocative sight to see the bright star disappearing behind the moon.

It is best seen with binoculars – but remember never to look at the sky with binoculars or any other optical aid when the sun is above the horizon. Permanent blindness may occur.

To check if the occultation is visible where you are located, visit in-the-sky.org and enter your location using the button on the right side of the page.

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