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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:57 pm 
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Location: Gilford Park
http://www.space.com/34997-moon-hides-b ... night.html

11:30-ish is when everyone interested should step out, pray for clear skies, and take a gander

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:50 pm 
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Location: Maple Shade, NJ
If you step out at 11:30 pm tonight (December 12th), it'll be too late to catch the disappearance. That's predicted to occur at 11:12:49 pm EST for Lakehurst, NJ, per the IOTA table (which is in UT):

http://www.lunar-occultations.com/iota/bstar/1213zc692.htm

Reappearance will be at 12:26:47 am on December 13th for Lakehurst. Note that the star designations on the IOTA page, ZC692 and 692SK5 = Aldebaran.

Since the moon will be cruising through the Hyades prior to occulting Aldebaran, other less-bright stars will also be occulted earlier in the evening. Check a planetarium program to get a rough time on those. In particular, the somewhat challenging naked-eye double star, Theta Tauri, will be occulted at roughly 7:20 pm for Theta-1 (mag 3.8) and 7:30 pm for Theta-2 (mag 3.4). Soon after they reappear, HD 28527 (mag 4.8) will be occulted at roughly 8:15 pm. There are a couple of 6th magnitude stars between HD 289527 and Aldebaran that will be occulted too.

As a minimum, binoculars will probably be needed to see Aldebaran in the glare near the limb of the nearly-full moon. A small scope might even be better. Theta will certainly require binoculars at least, and a scope might be necessary for the 6th magnitude stars near the moon. Be prepared.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:56 am 
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I did step out a few times on Monday evening to see some of the stars in the Hyades occulted by the moon. With 16x70 binoculars, I saw Theta 1 & 2 disappear at 7:21 and 7:32 pm EST respectively. I was back out at 8:10 pm and Theta 2 had already reappeared, but I could not find the reappearance of Theta 1 or the disappearance of HD 28527, in part because thin clouds now covered the moon and made stellar visibility near it very difficult. I was also unable to see Aldebaran itself with unaided eyes as it closed-in on the moon compared to its easily visible position in clear skies around 7:30 pm.

I went back out at 10:30 pm with my camera and 10x50 binoculars and was disappointed to see that clouds had thickened, although the moon itself was still readily visible and it had a nice 22° halo around it. Visibility of Aldebaran near the moon with 10x50s varied (and sometimes it was not visible) as the passing clouds varied in thickness. I went back in the house shortly before 11 pm, and returned outside about 11:08 pm. Much to my astonishment, the sky was quite clear around the moon. I fired off some snapshots (with the moon greatly overexposed to help ensure that Aldebaran was visible) then watched the final moments of Aldebaran moving into the limb with the 10x50s. I lost it at 11:12 pm, as best as I could tell reading my wristwatch in the dark.

Here's my next-to-last snapshot before occultation (the last snapshot was blurred a bit, probably from camera jiggle). The preceding limb (on the left) is somewhat craggy because of craters at the terminator of the 20-hours-before-full, 99% illuminated moon.


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File comment: Taken at 11:10:28 pm EST with a Canon 7D Mk II plus a Kenko 1.4x teleconverter and a Canon 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens on a fixed tripod. Exposed 1/20 second at f/8, ISO 1600. The camera's clock was set by its internal GPS.
7D2L0015-mod-label.jpg
7D2L0015-mod-label.jpg [ 20.09 KiB | Viewed 2523 times ]

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