Moon to eclipse a bright star

Moon to hide the bright star Aldebaran or Rohini Nakshtra
On March 14, 2016

Arvind Parnajpye
email: paranjpye.arvind@gmail.com
There is no copyright here –  please feel free to use this information. You may choose not to acknowledge the source but either way  I would be be happy to know how you have used it.

This is going to be one experience you will not be forgetting for some time to come. Let us make it BIG.

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Link to observing the event

On the night of March 14, 2016 the Moon will hide one of the very bright stars  Aldebaran (Rohini Nakshtra)  behind it.  The event that will take place close to 8 p.m. in India and will be visible only from the northern  part. The event is called occultation.  It is like a solar eclipse in which the Moon comes between the observer and the Sun.

Please see the map below and time of event for different cities in India.

The white lines on the map indicate the visibility of the event in the night, blue lines regions show that the event takes place close to sunset and red dotted lines show the region where the event takes place while the Sun above the local horizon.

Alpha_Tau_worldMap

Where should I go to observe this event : If you are in the white lines region shown on the map above than you really need not go anywhere.  If you can see the Moon from your place then you can see the event.

What is that one is expected to see :  Occultations of stars take place  in a fraction of second.  On 14th March only about 37% of the moon will be illuminated.  Around 7:45 p.m. IST one should be able to see the Moon well above the western horizon. Aldebaran can be seen slightly above it.

Depending upon the local condition one might be able to see the region of the moon not directly illuminated by the sunlight. We can see this side due to the reflected sunlight by the earth.

The star is very bright and one should be able to see the event with naked eyes but a pair of binoculars or a small telescope will certainly help. Please note here that one needs to concentrate only on the star and not the Moon.

As the time passes by, one would see that the gap between the sun and the star becoming shorter and shorter. If indeed you can see the darker region of the moon then comes a time when the darker edge of the moon appears to be just touching the star and then kind of all-of-a-sudden the star disappears.  The Moon covers it.

As the Moon marches on the star ‘reappears’.  The time of reappearance depends on the location of the observer.

After that you wait fo. r the star to reappear.

The star then reappear after a certain period of time.

starMapProImage

For Mumbai – the position of the Moon – about an hour before the event.  Aldebaran is in the direction of a cluster of stars called Hyades.

How can I observe the event : The star is very bright and you should be able to see the event with the naked eyes. But you may also consider to take a photograph or make a video of the event. You may also consider to time the event – that is to note the exact time at which the star disappeared behind the Moon or it reappeared from behind the Moon.

The exact time of disappearance and reappearance time for the star would depend on the geographical location of the observer. The time of the event for various cities, nearest to a second, is given the table below.

Occultation predictions of  Aldebaran  (mag 0.9) on,  2016 Mar 14
Moon: % illumination = 37+,  Solar elongation = 75 (angle between the Sun and the Moon)

                 Disappearance          Reappearance  
                            (time in IST)
                        
                            Moon                  Moon
                             Alt                   Alt     
Location           h  m  s     o         h   m  s    o           
       
 1 Srinagar        19:58:15   54        21:13:16    39
 2 Amritsar        20:00:09   54        21:15:22    38
 3 Masoori         20:06:40   50        21:19:40    35
 4 Dehra Dun       20:06:45   50        21:19:42    35  
 5 Naini Tal       20:10:05   49        21:21:37    33

 6 New Delhi       20:07:25   51        21:19:24    36
 7 Agra            20:10:47   50        21:20:30    35     
 8 Jaipur          20:07:33   53        21:17:40    37
 9 Lucknow         20:15:42   46        21:23:51    31
10 Siliguri        20:25:11   38        21:30:29    23

11 Jodhpur         20:03:44   56        21:13:27    41
12 Silchar         20:31:52   32        21:33:46    18
13 Mt. Abu         20:06:36   56        21:11:59    41
14 Udaipur         20:08:17   55        21:13:22    40
15 Kandla          20:05:40   59        21:05:15    45

16 Indore          20:16:30   51        21:14:51    38
17 Kolkata         20:31:55   36        21:30:20    23
18 Nagpur          20:25:28   46        21:17:57    34
19 Raipur          20:28:07   43        21:21:17    31
20 Amravati        20:25:23   47        21:14:10    36

21 Nanded          20:30:56   46        21:10:14    37
22 IUCAA IGO       20:27:35   50        21:02:11    42
23 Mumbai          20:27:14   51        20:59:01    44
24 Pune IUCAA      20:30:33   50        20:59:35    43
25 Hyderabad       20:41:21   42        21:05:20    37
26 Japal Rangapore 20:44:15   42        21:03:43    37
Note - for exact time of some other location please send me 
the latitude and longitude of the location. 

(Click here for occultation timings for other cities in the world)

It is rather easy to see the disappearance event as the star is continuously visible  but to see the reappearance one has to be rather more careful and should take the reference of the lunar limb.

The map below shows the point on the Moon where the star disappears and reappears.

On this map:1 -> Srinagar;  2 -> New Delhi;   3 -> Jaipur;  4 -> Kolkata and  5 -> Mumbai

Moon mapAlphaTau

The occultation timings are generated using occultation prediction software Occult V4.2 by David Herald

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About skytonight

I am the present Director of Nehru Planetarium of Nehru Centre Mumbai, India I like to talk about astronomy and sky observations to general public.
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