Watch the Moon Occult Aldebaran Tuesday Night

Now you see it... the December 23rd 2015 occultation of Aldebaran. Image credit and copyright: Roger Hutchinson

“That’s no moon…”But in this case, it is (sorry Ben), and that Moon is headed to temporarily obliterate (occult) the view of the bright star Aldebaran as seen from the Earth on the evening of January 19th and into the morning of the 20th.Here are the specifics. Not to be confused with Princess Leia’s homeworld of Alderaan of Star Wars science fiction fame, the occultation of the bright star Aldebaran in the astronomical constellation Taurus occurs on the night of Tuesday, January 19th and finds the waxing gibbous the Moon 82% illuminated and four days from the first Full Moon of the year on January 24th. This is also the first of 13 occultations of Aldebaran for the year 2016, one for even lunation. Evening occultations are particularly favorable, as the star in question always disappears along the leading edge dark limb of the Moon, to reappear along its daytime limb. Once the Moon is waning, the reverse is true, as the bright limb then leads towards New phase.We’ve caught occultations of bright stars very near Full, and can attest that it is indeed possible to follow a +1st magnitude star all the way to the lunar limb.The occultation footprint runs across the nighttime northern hemisphere from the early morning hours in western Europe and the United Kingdom across the northern Atlantic, across the contiguous ‘lower 48′ states of of U.S. to Canada and northern Mexico. It actually juuuust misses us here down in sunny Florida, one of the few states that will miss out on the event. This is the best placed occultation of Aldebaran for 2016 for most North American viewers, falling during early evening prime time hours high in the post twilight sky.Here’s the timing for the ingress (beginning) and egress (end) for the occultation —> Read More