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Set Your Alarm: Moon, Mars and Earth to Align Before Dawn on Tuesday

Planet Venus is on the top of the moon as seen from Quezon City, north of Manila, Philippines on Sunday feb 16 2020. This unique event is known as Venus planetary occultation. By the narrow crescent moon. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)  

An eclipse-like occurrence will cause Mars to disappear from our sky over North America early Tuesday morning in an unique event known to astronomers as Lunar occultation.

This event is very similar to an eclipse when the Earth, moon and Sun fall in a straight line but, during an occultation, Earth, moon and a planet align in a straight line. Due to this event, planet Mars will vanish from sight as it will pass directly behind the moon during Tuesday's occultation.

"A lunar occultation including a planet is a very rare occurrence." Accuweather Astronomer blogger Dave samuhel wrote. "There're very seldom per decade as seen from any given spot on the planet Earth."

Yon do not need a telescope to witness the rare occurrence as planet Mars and Moon both will be Luminous enough to be seen from a naked eye, but the timing and knowing the exact location on the sky to look will be of very importance - as will the weather. (See the image below)

The correct time that Mars will disappear behind the moon and then reappear on the other side depends on your location on Earth.

For all the folks living in the Eastern United States, the occultation will occur after sunrise, during this timing it'll be more difficult to see the occultation due to the growing daylight.

For those living in the Plains and the Rockies will have a much better view as Mars will vanish behind the moon in the dark, before dawn, and will appear on the other side around sunrise.

One of the best regions to witness and photograph the occultation will be the western U.S. Despite the fact that the occurrence will begin when moon and planet Mars are both out of sight below the horizon, before the light of the Sun brightens up the sky Mars will already have emerged from other side of the moon.

People will also need cloud free conditions to enjoy this rare event. But, a storm reaching may spoil this rare occurrence for folks in the eastern and central U.S.

"We're predicting a cloudy weather and rainy weather in the morning from eastern Texas through the southeast and northward into the midwest." Accuweather senior meteorologist Alen Reppert.

"Some clouds will be around the rest of the east coast.

Clouds will also spoil the show for the Northern and the central Rockies as some snowfall is expected over the region.

"The few areas that appear to be cloud-free will be in the central ans southern Plains also in the southwest." Senior meteorologist said.

Especial instruments like a telescope is needed for areas of eastern United States where the occultation will take place during the light of the day.

A pair of binoculars will also work to get a closer look.

This event is one of the top 10 astronomical-events of the year 2020, and only this unique kind of occurrence will be visible from North America.

Via Accuweather.

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