Jan 20. Moon / Aldebaran occultation

On January 20 (the night of Tuesday / Wednesday 19th / 20th) we have yet another occultation involving the Moon and the leading star of Taurus, magnitude 0.9 Aldebaran. This is part of a series of occultations that continues until 2018. Unfortunately this one takes place at a slightly less convenient time than the December event (unless you like being outside at 3am that is) and it will also take place low in the north-west so, in addition to obliging weather, a very good horizon will be essential – particularly to see Aldebaran reappear from the bright limb of the 10 day old Moon.

From London disappearance takes place around 03:24 with the Moon 6 degrees above the north-western horizon while reappearance takes place at 03:59 with the Moon virtually on the horizon. Northern observers fare slightly better and from Edinburgh disappearance takes place at 03:23 with the Moon around 9 degrees up and reappearance at 03:50 with the Moon still 6 degrees above the horizon. These events are fun to observe and, even better, can be enjoyed with nothing more sophisticated than a pair of binoculars.

The chart below shows the position of the Moon and Aldebaran at 03:10UT from London.

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