TIME astronomy

You Might Be Able To Watch A Giant Asteroid Blot Out A Star

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An asteroid the size of Rhode Island will pass by Earth early Thursday morning, blocking out the light from one of the sky's brightest stars. The event will be visible to the naked for star gazers in certain parts of North America

A massive space rock will blot out one of the night sky’s brightest stars next week and millions of people in the northeastern U.S. will be able to witness it without a telescope.

The space rock Erigone will pass between Earth and the star Regulus just after 2 a.m. EST Thursday for as long as 14 seconds, scientists say, blocking out the light from the star in the most visible such event in North America, USA Today reports.

Though asteroids frequently block light from minor stars in so-called “occultations”, these events are only visible through telescopes or with special equipment. Since the 1980s, only eight occultations of stars visible to the naked eye have been observed in the United States.

The 45-mile-wide asteroid’s passage will be visible in New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut and parts of Canada.

[USA Today]

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