Big asteroid will eclipse bright star Thursday

March 18, 2014 by Marcia Dunn

Skywatchers, get ready to see a rare vanishing act—and don't blink.

In the wee hours of Thursday, a 45-mile-wide asteroid will eclipse the brightest star in the Constellation Leo. The asteroid is 163 Erigone in the between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The star briefly disappearing will be Regulus.

This so-called occultation will last no more than 14 seconds, around 2 a.m. EDT. It could be as short as a fraction of a second.

What makes this unusual is the brightness of Regulus and the potential viewing audience. Weather permitting, the eclipse should be visible with the naked eye from New York City and elsewhere along a populated swath in the U.S. Northeast and eastern Canada.

Explore further: Orbital motions of over 100,000 asteroids visualized

Related Stories

Orbital motions of over 100,000 asteroids visualized

February 24, 2014

Who knew asteroids could be so beautiful and mesmerizing? In 2008, a group of astronomers led by Alex Parker did a study of the size distribution of asteroid families using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Asteroid ...

Undergraduates discover rare eclipsing double asteroid

January 7, 2014

Students in a University of Maryland undergraduate astronomy class have made a rare discovery that wowed professional astronomers: a previously unstudied asteroid is actually a pair of asteroids that orbit and regularly eclipse ...

STAR TRAK for November

November 3, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Jupiter will be easy to see in the east as night falls in November. The bright planet was at opposition on Oct. 29, so during November it will still be visible almost all night at its maximum brilliance. ...

Massive asteroid with moon to pass Earth today

May 31, 2013

An asteroid nearly two miles (three kilometers) wide is set to pass by Earth Friday with no risk of impact, offering scientists a rare chance to study a massive flying object with its own moon.

Recommended for you

Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume

January 12, 2018

Statistical analysis of supermassive black holes suggests that the spin of the black hole may play a role in the generation of powerful high-speed jets blasting radio waves and other radiation across the universe.

NASA team first to demonstrate X-ray navigation in space

January 11, 2018

In a technology first, a team of NASA engineers has demonstrated fully autonomous X-ray navigation in space—a capability that could revolutionize NASA's ability in the future to pilot robotic spacecraft to the far reaches ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.