The Moon in the “Bull’s Eye”

On the night of March 4/5, the dark side of the first-quarter Moon will slide though the Hyades (open cluster) in Taurus and cover several bright stars before moving on to occult The Bull’s eye: the red-giant star Aldebaran (α-Tauri).

At least some of the nighttime events in the Hyades will be visible in Europe, northern Africa, the eastern half of Canada, and the Midwestern and Northeast regions of the USA. The nighttime Aldebaran occultation will be visible from Central America up through most of the continental USA (skipping most of New England and the northern Midwest). Only a sliver of Canada, along Washington state and the southern tip of Vancouver Island, will see Aldebaran covered for a significant period of time.

But these northern-limit observers needn’t fret that they were “missing out” on Aldebaran. Indeed, they will be treated to the rare sight of the bright orange star playing hide-and-seek behind the topography of the the lunar limb. The International Occultation Timing Association has created a series of northern graze maps for these observers to position themselves at the proper location. Most of the southern limit of the occultation is over the ocean and there is no equivalent plot for that area.

Above is Panagiotis Xipteras’s twitter photo of θ2 Tauri (Hyades) on the lunar limb.  Taken with the TV-76, this scope’s compact size and APO performance allows for sharp imaging with lighter-duty tripods for easy field carrying and transportation. The TV-76 is a also a great crossover scope for spotting and birding.

More Info
See Bright Star Occultations for visibility maps and event timing in your area.
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