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Tales of the King: Watch as the Moon Occults Regulus for North America This Weekend

12 Oct 2017, 15:45 UTC
Tales of the King: Watch as the Moon Occults Regulus for North America This Weekend
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The Moon occults Regulus on July 25th, 2017. The Moon also occulted the star shortly after the August 21st total solar eclipse. Credit and copyright: @Shahgazer (Shahrin Ahmad).
Up early Sunday morning? Or perhaps, as we often do, you’re “pulling an all-nighter,” out observing until the break of dawn. Well, the clockwork celestial mechanics of the Universe has a treat in store on the morning of October 15th, as the waning crescent Moon occults (passes in front of) the bright star Regulus (Alpha Leonis, the “Little King” or “Heart of the Lion”) for the contiguous United States, Mexico and southern Canada.
The visibility footprint for Sunday’s occultation. The white solid lines show where the occultation occurs under dark skies, blue marks twilight, and broken lines represent where the event occurs under daytime skies. Credit: Occult 4.2.
You might call this one the “Great American Occultation,” as it takes a similar track to a certain total solar eclipse and another occultation of the bright star Aldebaran earlier this year. The Moon is a 20% illuminated waning crescent during Sunday’s occultation, about the best phase for such an event, as you’ll also get a nice contrasting Earthshine or Ashen light on dark ...

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