Venus is seen next to the crescent moon during the daytime, prior to the start of occultation in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 7, 2015. The moon had occulted, or passed in front of, Venus for the second time that year.
Venus is seen next to the crescent moon during the daytime, prior to the start of occultation in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 7, 2015. The moon had occulted, or passed in front of, Venus for the second time that year.  Joel Kowsky—NASA

Watch a Star Disappear Behind the Moon on Tuesday

Jan 19, 2016

As the moon orbits the Earth on Tuesday evening, it will pass in front of a bright star and block its light, an event known as a lunar occultation.

The majority of stars the moon eclipses are faint and only visible by telescope, but Tuesday night's orbit will see the moon pass in front of the red-giant star Aldebaran, which will be visible to observers all over North America, Hawaii and western Europe, according to Space.com, which offers viewing advice.

When stars pass behind the moon they appear to wink out instantaneously like a light switch because the moon has no significant atmosphere.

Other bright stars include Regulus, Spica and Antares. Like Aldebaran— which is part of the constellation Taurus— lunar occultations of those stars can be observed with the unaided eye.

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