A Great Activity for Amateur Astronomers

Lunar occultations of stars help us better understand the shape of the lunar profile.  These observations can also help us detect double stars

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Stellarium

and measure their separations.  Amateur astronomers can make the easy observations and timings, and we have a good occultation coming up in a few days.

On the evening of Sunday, November 5, 2017, the 0.9 magnitude star Aldebaran will be occulted by the Moon.  The star will disappear on the bright limb and reappear on the dark limb of the Moon.

From Greensboro, the Moon will slide next to the star around 7:50 pm and occult the star with the western limb, around 6 degrees South, 90 degrees West, near the basin Grimaldi.

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Aldebaran, aka α Tauri and ZC 692, is the brightest star in the constellation Taurus. In Greensboro the occultation will begin on November 6 around 00:53 UT (Universal Time.) For a few other North American cities see the table below:

November 6 Occultation of Aldebaran

City

UT

Montreal

1:07.9

Toronto

1:05.0

Washington, D.C.

1:52.6

Miami

0:50.2

Atlanta

0:53.7

Kansas City

1:52.0

Denver

1:54.7

 

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The International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) analyzes observations and serves as the clearinghouse for occultation information.  They have “Chasing the Shadow: The IOTA Occultation Observer’s Manual” available at

http://www.poyntsurce.com/IOTAmanual/Preview.htm

 

from “Lunar Occultations” by David W. Dunham in Observer’s Handbook 2017 by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

 


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