January is shaping up to be an interesting month for celestial events as some parts of the world will get to watch one of the solar system's outer planets completely disappearing behind the moon. According to Space.com, Uranus, which is visible only through a telescope, will disappear behind the moon during an occultation on Saturday, January 28, and people in the far north of the world and parts of Asia will have the chance to watch it.
Citing a visibility map from In-The-Sky.org, the outlet reported that the event will be visible in areas of Alaska, Canada's far north, Greenland, Russia and Japan. It is listed at 10:28pm EST on Saturday and 0328 GMT on Sunday. However, the visibility will vary by region.
Notably, occultations happen when one celestial body appears to pass behind another from the perspective of Earth. "Lunar occultations are only ever visible from a small fraction of Earth's surface," In-The-Sky.org wrote. Therefore, there's a lot of the world that won't be able to view this beautiful sight as the moon's path in front of Uranus has a lot to do with relativity and location on earth.
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There will be no livestreams of the event on YouTube yet. However, according to Space.com, if one misses this occultation of Uranus due to cloudy skies or the geography, there's another opportunity coming up on September 29 that will be visible from portions of Canada, eastern Alaska and the western United States.
Meanwhile, speaking of celestial events, a green comet, which has not been seen in the past 50,000 years, is also set to make an appearance in the night sky in the coming days. According to NASA, the comet, named C/2022 E3 (ZTF), could be visible to the naked eye under dark skies, as it approaches Earth on February 1 and 2. This flyby will be a rare occurrence as after this encounter, the comet won't be coming by for a very long time.
The green comet will be closest to Earth on February 2, at a distance of 26.4 million miles (42.5 million kilometres). NASA stated that it should be visible through binoculars in the morning sky for sky-watchers in the Northern Hemisphere during most of January and those in the Southern hemisphere in early February.