Lunar occultation will be visible with binoculars in North America
An astronomical spectacle will grace North American skies Tuesday evening, as the moon is set to cross over the star Aldebaran in what’s known as a lunar occultation.
According to Space.com, Aldebaran is roughly 44 times the size of the sun and is one of the most luminous stars in the night sky. The occultation will occur from late Tuesday into early Wednesday, though the exact time will vary by location, Sky & Telescope reports.
Along a “graze line” that cuts diagonally across the U.S., viewers will be able to see the star disappear and reappear in a dance with the waning gibbous moon. David Dunham of the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) said in a statement to Sky & Telescope that the event will be “a rare astronomical phenomenon visible with binoculars by thousands of people who live in the graze zone. In spite of the bright Moon, this is one of the better Aldebaran events in the current series for populous parts of North America.”
The moon’s occultation with Aldebaran is part of a recurring series that has taken place every month since Jan. 29, 2015. The current series with the star is predicted to end on Sept. 3, 2018 and will not happen again until 2033.