Moon Hides Aldebaran Star

Posted: Mar 6 2017, 7:37am CST | by , Updated: Mar 6 2017, 7:46am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Moon Hides Aldebaran Star
Credit: NASA
 

On Saturday, moon passed in front of the one of the brightest stars in night sky

Stargazers were treated to a rare sight on Saturday night. On March 4 the moon moved in front of giant Aldebaran star, temporarily blocking our view of the object. The event is called a lunar occultation and it was witnessed by most of the United States, Mexico and Carribean.

The reddish star Aldebaran is located about 65 light years from the Sun in the zodiac constellation of Taurus. It is the brightest star in Taurus constellation and 14th brightest star in the night sky. To put this into perspective, the star is about 153 times brighter than the sun in visible light, although its surface temperature is lower than the sun. Aldebaran is one of the easiest stars to find in the night sky, mainly because of brightness and its position in the constellation. The star is located in V-shaped asterism known as Hyades that makes up the face of the constellation Taurus the bull.

According to EarthSky, a total of 49 occultations will occur this year, starting at 29 Jan 2015 and ending at 3 Sep 2018. However, the Saturday night’s was the best lunar occultation of 2017. That night, the Aldebaran star disappeared behind the dark side of an almost-first-quarter moon and reappeared as the moon crossed the star. 

The event was even visible with the naked eye. The star seemed to vanish behind the moon at 11:10 p.m. and remained hidden for about 20 minutes until the moon passes between the Earth and the star.

The next time the occultation of Aldebaran will be on the morning of Aug. 16 with a waning crescent moon but it will be visible only from the state of Florida, not much of the U.S.  The moon will occult the star Aldebaran every month the rest of the year.

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