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The case of the disappearing star March 17, 2014

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro, Urban Observing.
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On Thursday, March 20 at 2:06 AM EDT, for observers in a narrow swath that happens to include New York City and Utica New York, and Kingston Ontario, The bright star Regulus will momentarily disappear. For those “in the know”, this won’t be much of a mystery. It’s actually an occultation by an asteroid.

To find out if you’re in the path, check out the map (and read more about  this event) at read the Sky and Telescope article at http://www.skyandtelescope.com/community/skyblog/observingblog/Bright-Star-to-be-Blacked-Out-by-Faint-Asteroid-249327421.html 

Even if you aren’t in the direct path, it may be worth observing. We don’t really know a lot about asteroid 163 Erigone. Is it oblong? A loose rubble pile? Surrounded by moons? You could help answer these questions. Observers from the east coast to the midwest and central Canada (including Ann Arbor!) are being asked to check out Regulus that morning. In fact, there’s even an app for citizen scientists to use to record and report your observations. For more on that, including a link to the app and a map visit the occultations.org site http://occultations.org/Regulus2014/

For a bit more on what we can learn, see my earlier post about the Regulus occultation. Or that link just above, which is where I got most of my information!

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