Occultations!

Contributed by
Jun 16, 2007
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Update (June 18): I just went outside (4:00 local time), and the Moon is nearly straight up... and next to it, plain as day (har har) is Venus! Amazing. With the crescent Moon to guide the eye, Venus is really easy to spot. I put the Sun behind my house to block the light, which helped. This will get harder to do every hour as the Moon pulls away from Venus, but that will still lead to the beautiful alignment tonight described below.

Via astropixie, I am reminded that there are several interesting things to see in the sky coming up.

First, check the western sky shortly after sunset tonight and for the next few days. The bright star Regulus, Venus, and Saturn make a pretty line, and the thin crescent Moon will glide through them every night, too.

There are also several way cool occultations (where one object passes in front of another) this week:

  1. For people in the NE US, Europe, and Canada, the Moon will pass directly in front of Venus on June 18. The website for The Socirty for Popular Astronomy (UK) has some great info. There is also a live webcast planned!
  2. The Moon will also pass in front of the bright star Regulus on June 20. Note this will happen in the evening of the 19th for most folks west of England. It'll be in the late afternoon for me here in Boulder, which means it won't be a naked eye event; Regulus is too dim to be seen in the daytime. But I'll see if I can see it with my 'scope. That'll be way cool.
  3. The Moon will occult Saturn later that day as well, but the geometry of the event means most folks on Earth will miss it. Too bad.

Check the IOTA webpage for more. I need to remember to check this once a week, too. Now that I'm home a bit more :-) I can try to catch more stuff like this!