Update (June 19, 2020):

S&T Senior Editor Kelly Beatty captured the shot below from a Costco parking lot, which guaranteed him a clear view to the eastern horizon. Beatty says, "It's not often I'm up at 4 am, but this morning's occultation of Venus was worth it!"

Venus-Moon pairing
Kelly Beatty / S&T

Share your own experiences in the comments below and/or share your shots in our online photo gallery!

The Moon and Venus Pair on June 19th

Should weather conditions be favorable, be sure to set your alarm clock for around 4 a.m. local time on Friday, June 19th, then proceed to a location where you have a clear and unobstructed view of the east-northeast horizon. A beautiful celestial tableau will be your reward, as an exceedingly thin crescent Moon rises in close proximity to the brightest planet in our sky.

Early risers who are up at this hour, and who are unaware or have no advance notice, will certainly wonder as they cast a casual glance toward the skinny Moon that morning: What is that “large silvery star”? Sometimes, such an occasion causes a sudden spike of phone calls to local planetariums, radio and TV stations and even police precincts. Not a few of these calls excitedly inquire about “the UFO” that is hovering in close vicinity of our natural satellite.

The object keeping close company with the Moon on this particular June morning will be dazzling Venus (magnitude -4.5), the unrivaled morning star whose dawn appearance will soar to magnificent prominence during the summer months.

Most observers in the U.S. will see Venus and the Moon pair up: As seen from the western U.S., Venus and the Moon will appear only roughly 2° apart; from the central U.S. they’ll appear even closer together, only about 1° apart. And along the East Coast the gap between them will amount to less than a degree.

Two crescents meet
This illustration portrays the tiny crescent Venus re-emerging from behind the dark limb of the earthlit crescent Moon in morning twilight, as seen from Boston, Massachusetts.
Gary Seronik / S&T; source: Stellarium

The Moon Hides Venus

But those living in northern and eastern New York, New England, and the Canadian Maritimes, await an even more spectacular sight. As the Moon comes up above the horizon, it will be hiding Venus behind it. Some minutes later, Venus will emerge dramatically from behind the Moon’s dark limb – the end of its occultation.

Readers can readily see this event without optical aid. However, binoculars or a telescope will give a much better view, as both objects will be thin crescents, the Moon being 4% sunlit and Venus 8%, adding to the beauty of the event. The emergence for most will take place near a position angle of 40° as measured clockwise from the top of the lunar disk, or just past 1 o’clock.  

Unlike a star — a point source of light, which appears to suddenly “pop-on” when it reappears from occultation — Venus’ disk measures 51 arcseconds across and will take about 90 seconds to completely emerge into view. The actual observed duration will be considerably less, though — more like 10 seconds, because only part of the planet is sunlit.

What Locations Will See the Occultation?

Visibility map for Venus occultation
This map shows where the Venus occultation will be visible. Some locations will see Venus disappear and reappear, some will only see the reemergence, and some will not see the occultation but will see the close conjunction of Venus and the Moon.
S&T / Gregg Dinderman

On the accompanying map, places to the right of a line running from Watertown to Riverhead, New York, will be able to see Venus emerge from behind the Moon; to the left of that line Venus emerges before moonrise. Local emergence times, altitude and azimuth information is provided for 11 U.S. and Canadian cities. For other cities such data can be determined using interpolation.

Local circumstances for the reappearance of Venus on June 19, 2020

Providence, RI3:58 a.m.4:06.5 a.m.65°5:11 a.m.
Boston, MA3:55 a.m.4:06.9 a.m.66°5:07 a.m.
Concord, NH3:55 a.m.4:08.0 a.m.66°5:06 a.m.
August, ME3:44 a.m.4:08.7 a.m.67°4:55 a.m.
Montpelier, VT3:56 a.m.4:09.5 a.m.65°5:06 a.m.
Montreal, PQ3:56 a.m.4:11.1 a.m.65°5:05 a.m.
Halifax, NS4:18 a.m.5:07.7 a.m.71°5:29 a.m.
Fredericton, NB4:26 a.m.5:09.8 a.m.67°5:36 a.m.
All times in this table and the next are listed are in local daylight time.  Keep in mind that the moment of moonrise is defined as when the very top part of the lunar disk first appears above the horizon and that the emergence of the entire disk will take a few more minutes.

Local circumstances for the entire occultation (disappearance and reappearance) of Venus

Sydney, NS3:59 a.m.4:20.1 a.m.65°5:09.1 a.m.10°74°5:09 a.m.
Charlottetown, PE4:11 a.m.4:21.8 a.m.63°5:09.1 a.m.72°5:20 a.m.
St. John's, NF4:07 a.m.4:49.1 a.m.70°5:40.9 a.m.16°80°5:03 a.m.

The farther north and east one goes, the higher the Moon will be, but also the brighter the twilight sky will get. The best view will be just to the right of the “Disappearance of Venus at Moonrise” line in Prince Edward Island and eastern Nova Scotia, where the entire occultation will be visible before sunrise. “Nocturnal” (pre-sunrise or post-sunset) occultations of Venus are quite rare.

In the February 2011 Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Jean Meeus and I determined how often this happens for a specific location. Every 31 years, on average, we may witness Venus both disappear and reappear, while every 21 years, on average, we may witness either one or the other. The next such opportunity for New England and the Maritimes comes earlier than that, though, on September 13, 2031.


Image of lanman63


June 12, 2020 at 4:21 pm

Will this be visible in N. E. Wisconsin?

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Image of Zubenelgenubi 61

Zubenelgenubi 61

June 19, 2020 at 1:10 am

The Moon will already be past Venus at your location, but they still will appear close together, a pretty sight.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Image of Tom Hoffelder

Tom Hoffelder

June 13, 2020 at 1:54 pm

Augusta, Maine... 3 deg alt is going to be tough, but I did get a decent photo of the moon on 5/23 when it was only 2.4 deg. It was in the online gallery but I can't find it now.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Image of Mick-Snyder


June 15, 2020 at 8:44 am

With the Moon and Venus close to each other even when no occultation is occurring, it would be interesting for the rest of the world (ie not just the parts of the North America where the actual occultation can be seen) to be informed of the close pairing and what we can expect to see..

I realise that Sky and Telescope is primarily aimed at the US, but there are those of us who pay a subscription from other parts of the world and we would like to be taken into account.

From a group of islands north of Brittany, France.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Image of Frank-ReedNavigation.com


June 15, 2020 at 9:29 pm

Speaking of islands with a view not mentioned in the article, unless I've simulated wrong, it appears that Bermuda will also have a reappearance of Venus with the Moon (the upper limb at least) just above the horizon. It's highly unlikely that the Moon will be visible due to atmospheric absorption, but Venus popping out from behind an invisible wall might still be a treat!

For observers further west, there's a nice opportunity to observe the disappearance and reappearance of Venus in daylight telescopically. Definitely worth checking out for anyone in a group of islands north of Brittany or in other locations in northern Europe. Find the Moon in a scope (difficult at such short elongation but possible), and Venus will be close by. Simulate in Stellarium for your own location.

Frank Reed

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Image of Frank-ReedNavigation.com


June 15, 2020 at 9:47 pm

The image from Stellarium used here to illustrate the event "as seen from Boston" may be a bit misleading. It appears it was generated with the atmosphere turned OFF. This produces better contrast in Stellarium, but at the cost of eliminating extreme refraction near the horizon as well as significant atmospheric extinction.

Viewers from New England should expect the Moon to be flattened by refraction by about 10%. This doesn't impact the timing since it's an optical distortion of the entire scene. Thus if the limb of Venus is predicted to contact the limb of the Moon at some time at some given location, then refraction can distort the appearance but the time will still be right.

The impact of extinction, which is also turned off when the atmosphere is turned off in Stellarium, is worth considering. Seeing a very thin crescent moon like this is always difficult, but the impact on the earthshine-illuminated (dark side) of the Moon will change what observers can expect to see dramatically. Only very fortunate observers in southern New England with near-zero extinction will be able to see the earthshine-illuminated portion of the Moon at such extremely low altitudes. Venus, distorted and shimmering from extreme refraction, will appear out of "nothing" rather than from behind the limb of the Moon for most observers. Conditions change very quickly near the horizon, though, so observers northeast of New England, in Canada, should see something closer to the description here.

Frank Reed

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Image of Vaughan


June 16, 2020 at 9:25 am

In S Spain, we'll see it on Friday morning just before occlusion, as it broaches the eastern horizon in Taurus. About 50 minutes before the Sun rises. After that the Sun will be too close to see it coming out from behind the Moon, which will be about 13h00 our time.

I'm going to try for pre-occlusion, but there may be too much atmosphere about the Med at that time in the morning. We get a great deal of Sahara sand 'fog-bands' above the sea on the horizon.

Being new to the science/art, any advice on camera settings would be appreciated, I'm only going to get 30 mins decent camera time. I have a Canon 6D Mk II, a 50mm 1.8 Prime and 75-300mm F4-5.6 Telephoto. Not planning on using my tracking mount, just a tripod.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Image of atticaowl


June 19, 2020 at 4:24 pm

Greetings all:
What a great sight on the horizon as I caught the final seconds of the egress. I used 20x
80mm binoculars to spot a single horn Venus as the pair cleared
the horizon at a farm near my home in Fairfax Vermont. A picture perfect sight at 1.4 degrees up naked eye and twin crescents later in binoculars.
Lawrence Garrett
28475 Garrett

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Image of Guenther Neue

Guenther Neue

June 19, 2020 at 6:17 pm


my wife and me observed the disappearance of Venus behind the Moon from Dortmund, Germany. We used a 4inch ETX 105. Due to broad daylight (9:47 local time) the Moon was very hard to discover while the thin sickle of Venus was extremely brilliant. The horns were covered first. But especially the quick shrinking of the last visible arc of Venus was impressive. Unfortunately, egress was spoiled by clouds.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

You must be logged in to post a comment.