An asteroidal occultation prediction for 2014 March 7

On 2014 March 7 at 03:08UT, asteroid (9) Metis is predicted to occult a magnitude 7.9 star in Libra (HIP 78193). The maximum duration is around 25sec. Observers in the UK and Europe should see an occultation or a very close appulse depending on their location. Tick marks on the track are one minute intervals starting on the left at 03:07UT. The shadow track is approx. 372km wide.

An updated prediction is likely a few weeks prior to the event, providing a more accurate shadow path. The prediction currently has a 0.15 path uncertainty. The dotted lines represent the maximum error in the prediction calculated a year in advance by E. Goffin.

This prediction involves a reasonably bright star 9° from Saturn with several brighter field stars, making this an excellent opportunity to find and record a rare and dramatic event. During the occultation the star will disappear behind the 11th magnitude asteroid, which itself should be visible in medium sized instruments. A drop in brightness of 3.2 magnitudes should make this a very noticeable event. Observers are invited to time the disappearance and duration of the occultation with 0.5 sec accuracy (or better where possible) using a clock synchronised to UT, and to report the result to the Asteroids & Remote Planets Section.

Several observations of the event would translate to an accurate outline of the minor planet (see left). A description of how to observe and report asteroidal occultations can be found in the 2014 BAA Handbook, page 47.

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