¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for the week ending May 16, 2015
For the second time in about a year, the bright star Regulus will momentarily vanish from the sky because an asteroid will pass in front of it. The event is called an occultation. You won’t be able to see this event from everywhere in the world—at least not in person. Maybe a well placed web cam feed will enable you.
Asteroids pass in front of stars—usually dim ones—all the time. An astronomer who’s interested in an occultation usually has to have a powerful telescope and a very dark sky to watch the star wink. Regulus happens to be a naked eye star.
The place to be to see Regulus vanish on May 24, 2015 will be in a 20 to 30 kilometer wide path across the Arabian peninsula. Areas just north of Jeddah and Mecca in Saudi Arabia are well situated. So is Nishtun, Yemen. The islands of Male in the Indian Ocean are also in the right place. The visibility path ends in South Sumatra.
For those who really like to know, a would-be visibility path starts in the Washington, DC area, crosses the Atlantic Ocean, and reaches ...