Fiddler's Hearthwill host a skygazing event to watch Venus get mooned Dec. 7, 2015. You can observe the moon passing in front of the planet--an occultation--midday on Monday, then jubilate at South Bend's celebrated Public House. Telescopes set up at 127 N. Main St. will target the moon and Venus along a clear sightline to the southwest. It is a subtle yet memorable experience to watch Venus emerge in the daytime sky from behind the unseen edge of the moon. While the occultation is a challenge to see with the naked eye--and cause to boast if you do--the pairing quickly pops into view with the aid of binoculars or a telescope.
If you have binoculars, bring them to Fiddler's Hearth--the best views go to persons who are at the optics. If the skies are clear, we'll witness this smile-inducing phenomenon from the parking lot on the south side of the restaurant. I'll be there with telescopes and binoculars from noon to about 2:00 p.m. weather-, attitude-, and viewing-permitting. While awaiting the re-emergence of Venus, we can look at sunspots through a solar-filtered telescope.
Wherever you may be that entire Monday morning, find and focus your eyes on the thin crescent moon. Can you see Venus just slightly left of the moon? Shortly after noon (about 12:20 p.m. as seen from South Bend, IN) the planet will seem to fuse into the lunar crescent and disappear. Venus is actually behind the moon for the next 74 minutes. Then, around 1:34 p.m. it magically pops back into view.
If the sky is cloudy, head into Fiddler's Hearth for a good meal and drink beer. If it's clear and you witness a celestial spectacle, head into Fiddler's Hearth for a good meal and drink more beer. Woohoo, you witnessed a daytime occultation! Not many people can claim to have seen Venus midday.
Illustration shows Venus re-emerging from behind the dark side of the crescent moon at 1:34 p.m. EST, as seen from South Bend, IN.