Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How to photograph the lunar eclipse?

Click the link below to read about various methods to photograph the lunar eclipse.

How to Photograph a Lunar Eclipse

Monday, December 28, 2009

Partial Eclipse 31 Dec, 2009

The beginning, the middle and the ending of the eclipse will be visible from all parts of India.The eclipse will be visible in the region covering Alaska, Australia, Indonesia, Asia, Africa, Europe including the British Isles and the Arctic regions.The beginning of the umbral phase will be visible from the extreme south-eastern part of Australia, middle of South and North Pacific Ocean and extreme Solomon Island. The ending of the umbral phase will be visible from North and South Atlantic Ocean and Greenland. ECa will be doing a live webcast of the event. For further details and updates, keep on checking the website.


Courtesy: www.shadowandsubstance.com
Event

Moon enters penumbra    31 dec 22h 45.3m
Moon enters umbra         01 jan 0h 21.7m
Middle of the eclipse       01 jan 0h 52.7m
Moon leaves umbra         01 jan 1h 23.6m
Moon leaves penumbra  01 jan 3h 00.0m

all times are in IST

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reappearance of Eta Piscium - animation on youtube

Reappearance of Eta Piscium during occultation by Moon on 26th December, 2009. Individual 50 frames combined together to make the movie. Captured by SPACE team

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Annular Eclipse of the Sun January 15, 2010

Annular Eclipse of the Sun January 15, 2010

Courtesy - http://shadowandsubstance.com/

Friday, December 25, 2009

Occultation of Eta Piscium in Delhi

People living in Delhi have an oppurtunity to watch the lunr occultation of the bright star on 26th Dec.


World Map for the occultataion

Occultation prediction of Eta Piscium for DELHI India

day  Time     P      Mag  Moon     CA     PA
d  h  m  s           v   Alt Az
26 15 19  9   D      3.8  68 238  19N     360
26 16  1 30   R      3.8  59 251 -38N     302




Timings are in UT. To convert these into IST add 5 hours and 30 mins.

P: Phenomenon, R – Reappearance, D – Disappearance

Mag (v): Visual Magnitude of the star occulted.

CA: Cusp angle of the event. This is the number of degrees from the northern (N) or southern (S) cusp to the event. The positive (+) events occur on dark limb and are easiest to see; negative (-) events occur on bright limb. See the figure below.

PA: is the position angle measured in degrees. Similar to the position angle for double stars, it is the angle from due north (0°) to the point on the Moon's limb where the Event occurs. 90° is celestial east (to the left), 180° is celestial south, 270° is celestial west (to the right). See left figure below.






Occultation of 6.3 mag star by 1461 Jean-Jacques on 2010 Jan 4 near delhi

On 2010 Jan 04 UT, the 33 km diameter asteroid (1461) Jean-Jacques will occult a 6.3 mag star in the constellation Leo for observers along a path across Russia,India. In the case of an occultation, the combined light of the asteroid and the star will drop by 8.5 mag to 14.8 mag (the magnitude of the asteroid) for at most 3.1 seconds.


















Path Coordinates:
Occultation of HIP 46938 by 1461 Jean-Jacques on 2010 Jan 4
                   Centre              Star  Star   Sun
  E. Longitude    Latitude      U.T.    Alt   Az    Alt
      o  '  "     o  '  "    h  m  s     o     o     o
                                              
     94 30 58     3  5 43   23 47 51    36   297    -1
     93 26 45     4 30 37   23 48  3    37   296    -2
     92 25 56     5 53 37   23 48 16    39   295    -4
     91 28  6     7 14 59   23 48 29    40   295    -5
     90 32 55     8 34 54   23 48 41    41   294    -7

     89 40  3     9 53 31   23 48 54    43   293    -8
     88 49 17    11 10 59   23 49  7    44   292    -9
     88  0 24    12 27 25   23 49 20    45   291   -10
     87 13 13    13 42 55   23 49 32    46   290   -11
     86 27 34    14 57 36   23 49 45    47   289   -12

     85 43 21    16 11 31   23 49 58    48   287   -13
     85  0 24    17 24 47   23 50 10    49   286   -14
     84 18 39    18 37 26   23 50 23    50   285   -15
     83 37 59    19 49 33   23 50 36    51   283   -16
     82 58 19    21  1 11   23 50 49    52   282   -17

     82 19 35    22 12 23   23 51  1    52   280   -18
     81 41 42    23 23 14   23 51 14    53   279   -19
     81  4 37    24 33 44   23 51 27    54   277   -20
     80 28 16    25 43 58   23 51 39    54   275   -21
     79 52 37    26 53 58   23 51 52    55   273   -21

     79 17 35    28  3 46   23 52  5    55   271   -22
     78 43 10    29 13 25   23 52 18    56   269   -23
     78  9 17    30 22 56   23 52 30    56   267   -24
     77 35 56    31 32 24   23 52 43    57   265   -24
     77  3  3    32 41 49   23 52 56    57   263   -25

     76 30 37    33 51 13   23 53  8    57   261   -26
     75 58 36    35  0 40   23 53 21    57   259   -26
     75 26 58    36 10 11   23 53 34    57   257   -27
     74 55 41    37 19 48   23 53 47    58   255   -27
     74 24 45    38 29 33   23 53 59    58   252   -28

     73 54  6    39 39 30   23 54 12    58   250   -28
     73 23 45    40 49 40   23 54 25    57   248   -29
     72 53 39    42  0  5   23 54 37    57   246   -29
     72 23 47    43 10 47   23 54 50    57   244   -30
     71 54  9    44 21 50   23 55  3    57   242   -30

     71 24 42    45 33 16   23 55 16    56   239   -30
     70 55 26    46 45  8   23 55 28    56   237   -31
     70 26 19    47 57 27   23 55 41    56   235   -31
     69 57 21    49 10 18   23 55 54    55   233   -31
     69 28 29    50 23 44   23 56  6    55   231   -32

     68 59 45    51 37 47   23 56 19    54   229   -32
     68 31  5    52 52 31   23 56 32    53   228   -32
     68  2 30    54  8  1   23 56 45    53   226   -32
     67 33 59    55 24 20   23 56 57    52   224   -32
     67  5 31    56 41 32   23 57 10    51   222   -32

     66 37  4    57 59 44   23 57 23    50   221   -32
     66  8 40    59 18 59   23 57 35    50   219   -32
     65 40 17    60 39 23   23 57 48    49   218   -32
     65 11 55    62  1  5   23 58  1    48   216   -32
     64 43 35    63 24  9   23 58 14    47   215   -32

     64 15 17    64 48 46   23 58 26    46   213   -32
     63 47  3    66 15  3   23 58 39    44   212   -32

Timings for the 27th dec event

Occultation of HIP  58895 by 889 Erynia on 2009 Dec 27
                  Centre              Star  Star   Sun 
  E. Longitude   Latitude      U.T.    Alt    Az   Alt 
      o  '  "     o  '  "    h  m  s     o     o     o 
                                                        
     61  0  0    26 12 36   22 52 31    45   113   -50 
     62  0  0    26 10 41   22 52 37    46   114   -49 
     63  0  0    26  8 39   22 52 44    47   115   -48 
     64  0  0    26  6 30   22 52 50    48   116   -48 
     65  0  0    26  4 14   22 52 57    48   116   -47 

     66  0  0    26  1 52   22 53  3    49   117   -46 
     67  0  0    25 59 23   22 53 10    50   118   -45 
     68  0  0    25 56 47   22 53 17    51   119   -44 
     69  0  0    25 54  4   22 53 24    52   120   -43 
     70  0  0    25 51 15   22 53 31    53   121   -42 

     71  0  0    25 48 19   22 53 38    53   122   -41 
     72  0  0    25 45 16   22 53 45    54   123   -40 
     73  0  0    25 42  7   22 53 52    55   124   -39 
     74  0  0    25 38 52   22 54  0    56   126   -38 
     75  0  0    25 35 30   22 54  7    57   127   -37 

     76  0  0    25 32  1   22 54 15    57   128   -36 
     77  0  0    25 28 27   22 54 22    58   129   -36 
     78  0  0    25 24 46   22 54 30    59   131   -35 
     79  0  0    25 20 58   22 54 37    60   132   -34 
     80  0  0    25 17  5   22 54 45    60   133   -33 

     81  0  0    25 13  5   22 54 53    61   135   -32 
     82  0  0    25  9  0   22 55  1    62   137   -31 
     83  0  0    25  4 48   22 55  9    62   138   -30 
     84  0  0    25  0 31   22 55 17    63   140   -29 
     85  0  0    24 56  8   22 55 25    64   142   -28 

     86  0  0    24 51 39   22 55 33    64   144   -27 
     87  0  0    24 47  4   22 55 41    65   146   -26 
     88  0  0    24 42 24   22 55 49    66   148   -25 
     89  0  0    24 37 38   22 55 57    66   150   -24 
     90  0  0    24 32 46   22 56  6    67   152   -23 

     91  0  0    24 27 50   22 56 14    67   154   -23 
     92  0  0    24 22 48   22 56 22    68   157   -22 
     93  0  0    24 17 41   22 56 31    68   159   -21 
     94  0  0    24 12 28   22 56 39    68   162   -20 
     95  0  0    24  7 11   22 56 48    69   164   -19 

     96  0  0    24  1 49   22 56 56    69   167   -18  
     97  0  0    23 56 22   22 57  5    69   170   -17  
     98  0  0    23 50 50   22 57 13    70   173   -16  
     99  0  0    23 45 14   22 57 22    70   176   -15  
    100  0  0    23 39 33   22 57 30    70   179   -14  

   
Uncertainty in time = +/- 3 secs
Prediction of 2009 Dec 10.8


Path and error limits
                      Path Limits           Error Limits   
  E. Longitude  Limit 1    Limit 2    Limit 3    Limit 4
      o  '  "   o  '  "    o  '  "    o  '  "    o  '  "
               Latitude   Latitude   Latitude   Latitude
     61  0  0  26  6 15   26 18 56   25 53 27   26 31 46
     62  0  0  26  4 20   26 17  1   25 51 32   26 29 51
     63  0  0  26  2 18   26 14 59   25 49 30   26 27 49
     64  0  0  26  0  9   26 12 51   25 47 21   26 25 40
     65  0  0  25 57 54   26 10 35   25 45  6   26 23 25

     66  0  0  25 55 31   26  8 13   25 42 43   26 21  3
     67  0  0  25 53  2   26  5 43   25 40 14   26 18 34
     68  0  0  25 50 26   26  3  8   25 37 38   26 15 58
     69  0  0  25 47 43   26  0 25   25 34 55   26 13 15
     70  0  0  25 44 54   25 57 36   25 32  6   26 10 26

     71  0  0  25 41 58   25 54 40   25 29 10   26  7 30
     72  0  0  25 38 55   25 51 37   25 26  7   26  4 28
     73  0  0  25 35 46   25 48 28   25 22 58   26  1 19
     74  0  0  25 32 31   25 45 13   25 19 42   25 58  4
     75  0  0  25 29  9   25 41 51   25 16 20   25 54 42

     76  0  0  25 25 40   25 38 23   25 12 51   25 51 13
     77  0  0  25 22  6   25 34 48   25  9 17   25 47 39
     78  0  0  25 18 24   25 31  7   25  5 35   25 43 58
     79  0  0  25 14 37   25 27 20   25  1 48   25 40 11
     80  0  0  25 10 44   25 23 26   24 57 54   25 36 18

     81  0  0  25  6 44   25 19 27   24 53 55   25 32 18
     82  0  0  25  2 39   25 15 21   24 49 49   25 28 13
     83  0  0  24 58 27   25 11 10   24 45 37   25 24  2
     84  0  0  24 54  9   25  6 53   24 41 20   25 19 44
     85  0  0  24 49 46   25  2 29   24 36 56   25 15 21

     86  0  0  24 45 17   24 58  0   24 32 27   25 10 52
     87  0  0  24 40 42   24 53 26   24 27 52   25  6 18
     88  0  0  24 36  2   24 48 46   24 23 12   25  1 38
     89  0  0  24 31 16   24 44  0   24 18 26   24 56 52
     90  0  0  24 26 25   24 39  8   24 13 34   24 52  1

     91  0  0  24 21 28   24 34 12   24  8 37   24 47  5
     92  0  0  24 16 26   24 29 10   24  3 35   24 42  3
     93  0  0  24 11 19   24 24  3   23 58 28   24 36 56
     94  0  0  24  6  6   24 18 51   23 53 15   24 31 44
     95  0  0  24  0 49   24 13 34   23 47 58   24 26 27

     96  0  0  23 55 27   24  8 12   23 42 36   24 21  5
     97  0  0  23 50  0   24  2 45   23 37  9   24 15 38
     98  0  0  23 44 28   23 57 13   23 31 37   24 10  7
     99  0  0  23 38 52   23 51 37   23 26  0   24  4 30
    100  0  0  23 33 11   23 45 56   23 20 19   23 58 50     

occultation of 7.2 mag star by 22 km asteroid

On 2009 Dec 27 UT, the 22 km diameter asteroid (889) Erynia will occult a 7.2 mag star in the constellation Virgo for observers along a path across India, Arabia.

In the case of an occultation, the combined light of the asteroid and the star will drop by 8.7 mag to 15.9 mag (the magnitude of the asteroid) for at most 1.8 seconds.





This update is based on UNSO/Flagstaff astrometry for the asteroid kindly provided by Alice Monet, historical astrometry from the MPC files (via AstDys), and the following catalogs for the star position: .

The event at a glimpse
----------------------
* Rank: 61
* date and approx. time of event: 2009 Dec 27, 22:49 - 2009 Dec 27, 22:59 UT
* magnitude of target star: 7.2
* magnitude drop [mag]: 8.7
* estimated maximum duration [s]: 1.8
* Moon: 81 % sunlit, 134° distance
* Sun: 97° distance
* rough path description: India, Arabia

Click here to go to google earth to see the path


graze occultation of 4th magnitude star by moon in chandigarh

 Eta Piscium, 3.8 magnitude star is going to be  occulted by first quarter moon on 26th Dec, 2009. details will follow soon. 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

SPACE events planned at different locations across India

SPACE events planned at different locations:

1Eclipse workshop by Jay Pasachoff 
at Nehru Planetarium on 11th Jan, 2010 (TENTATIVE)
Jointly hosted by SPACE and Nehru Planetarium

2. Public Eclipse Watch on 15th Jan 2010, at Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu
A public watch is planned on 15th Jan at Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu. The SPACE team will organize and guide the public watch. They will set up telescopes for viewing and provide solar goggles.

3. Public Eclipse Watch on 15th Jan 2010 in Delhi
A SPACE team will organize and guide a public watch. They will set up telescopes for viewing and provide solar goggles. Locations will be announced later.

4. Experiments/Activities  for SNCs and SPACE schools for ASE 
Photographing the sun at Max annularity
Mass observations
Physical experiments

5. Scientific Observing at Varkala Beach, Kerala
SPACE Science Team will be present along with school principals, selected students and school coordinators for eclipse observations. Scientific experiments, Astro Photography and public skywatches will be conducted by the team. Observations and Activities include:


a. Mass public observation will be conducted at the venue.

b. Photographic Experiments to be conducted by the SPACE Scientific team:
  • ASE in one Frame using Digital Camera (Canon 450D with fisheye)
  • Long focal length, Main eclipse photography (william optics on orion mount with canon 500D)
  • Video of eclipse through the PST and high resolution webcam
  • Video of the Annularity using webcam attached to meade finder and handycam
  • Shadow sharpening photos
  • Crescents and Annularity through pinholes, trees, pictures, sieve using sony digital camera
c. Suggested Physical Experiments include:
  • Visual Contact Timings (C1, C2, C3, C4)
  • Measuring Sky Brightness
  • LDR + Multimeter
  • Temperature of water, soil and air at different heights
  • Humidity measurement
  • Wind Speed measurement at different heights
  • Finding Ratio of Sun and Moon During Annularity - Photographic
  • Shadow Sharpening
----------------------------------------
Please support these efforts and help us make this event a success.

For more information contact:
Mila Mitra, Scientific Officer, 9971641274
Shikha Chanana, Coordinator Outreach Events, 9212669953

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Information about ASE 2010 for schools in south india

The largest Annular eclipse of this millennium is happening on 15th Jan 2010.This eclipse is one of the rarest eclipses which starts in Africa and passes over India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh before ending in China. The photosphere of the sun shall be covered by the moon forming a ring of fire in the sky for more than 10 minutes in some parts of India. The path of the annularity in India is passing over the state of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram while the partial phase of eclipse is visible all over the country.
SPACE, a scientific organisation working in the field of space sciences and astronomy education and popularization, is orchestrating an International collaborative eclipse watch on 15th of Jan, 2010. We invite schools and institutes in India and the other countries mentioned above to join hands in this one of the largest scientific international event.
SPACE shall select and collaborate with 20 schools in each of the 3 states falling in the annularity region in India on first cum first serve basis. The schools have to fulfill the prerequisite requirements mentioned below. .Each participant institution is expected to make a Eclipse task Group (ETG) comprising of 10 students and 1 teacher/ educator. The ETG shall be entrusted to organise public watches in their school, take observations of the assigned experiments, and do eclipse photography under the guidance of SPACE astronomers and Panel scientists. The experimental procedure, processes, Public watch organisation and Photographic training shall be provided by SPACE astronomers and scientist through the internet web conferencing and the astronomer shall physiaclly visit and train the ETG in the areas with technological Limitation  if reqiured, whichever the case may be. Since this eclipse is becoming very popular and is visible over a large population it becomes important that people are trained to watch this eclipse safely under guidance. Unsafe viewing of the sun can cause damage to our eyes. The public observations organised by you shall be a huge scientific contribution to society. All the members and related institutes of ETG’s shall receive a certificate from SPACE.

The Main objectives of the Collaborative eclipse observation are:
To collect a large sample of scientific data in the annularity region of eclipse all over the world.
To provide a collaborative platform to increase the involvement of students and teacher fraternity in general scientific contribution to the society
To organise large number of Public watches during the eclipse to involve masses in the safe eclipse observation.
To provide the opportunity of real time participation in a scientific experimentation and to propagate learning of science through hands on experience.
To create an international platform for collaborative projects and experiments at intermediate level.
To stimulate international student scientific cooperation and scientific exchange.
To spread scientific temperament and break myths and misconceptions associated with eclipses.

What is expected from You.
1. Constitution of Eclipse task Group comprising of
10 students (class 8th and above) and 1 teacher (computers, science, geography)
2. High speed Internet connection.
3. Availability of open ground to hold public watch
4. Public address system and other general requirements
5. One Handy Cam.
6. One SLR camera.
7. 2 laptops.
8. Webcam
9. Trained technical help who can connect to web-conference.
10. Popularization of event locally.
11. Printer.
12. Local mail dispatches etc.
13. Electricity connections.
14. Other incidental petty requirements if any

What will be provided by SPACE.
1. All technical training and related documents.
2. Filters etc and kits.
3. Media management (Press releases, articles etc.)
4. Website management
5. Experiment procedures etc.
6. Web conferencing platform
7. Visits of Astronomer and Scientists if required.
8. Local technical support if required.
9. Filling of reports
10. Observation sheets and logs.
11. Software required
12. International collaboration and connectivity
13. Management and coordination of overall event.

SPACE had organised the eclipse watch at “Taregana” in Bihar on June 22nd 2009 under its project “Grahan -2009”. More than 80 thousand people participated in public observation of the Total solar Eclipse which is a record in itself. The event was highlighted in the press in India and abroad.The Chief Minister of Bihar Mr. Nitish Kumar generously praised the effort of SPACE and participated in the event.
This eclipse being one of longest annular eclipse is becoming even more popular among scientific circle. The media is already reffering it as the “Pongal Eclipse”. Anticipating a huge participation of public in this eclipse SPACE is also working towards organizing “Eclipse Mela- The Ring of Fire 2010”in Kerala and Tamil Nadu on the day of eclipse with the help of state government bodies. The Mela shall intend to involve masses in the astronomical events and create a culture of enjoying such events rather than getting afraid and disassociated due to Myths and Misconceptions. The teacher, students and schools/institutes can volunteer and collaborate in organizing this event separately.

Pleiades occultation live projection

SPACE is preparing to do live projection of the Pleiades occultation tomorrow evening inside Auditorium, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi in association with Nehru Planetarium.

The live projection of the occultation is intended to run alongside the the screening of the film on Galileo made by Liliana Cavani, at 6 PM at the same auditorium by Nehru Planetariums., which is part of the Indo-Italian fortnight being celebrated by the Nehru Planetarium along with the Italian Embassey.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Timings for Pleaides occultation for Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata


Occultation prediction for DELHI India

       day  Time   P   Star No Mag Moon CA   PA
 y   m  d  h  m  s      No Alt Az  
09 Dec  1 13 25 38 m     556   5.4 29  78  28S 160
09 Dec  1 13 26 56 Gr    556   5.4 30 ** GRAZE
09 Dec  1 13 42 37 D     564   6.2 33  79  87N  96
09 Dec  1 13 50 51 d     567   6.8 35  79  62N  72
09 Dec  1 13 57 31 d     560   3.6 36  80  -5N   4
09 Dec  1 14 13 58 Gr    560   3.6 40 ** GRAZE
09 Dec  1 14 18 43 d     570   7.0 41  82  55N  65
09 Dec  1 14 24 50 r     560   3.6 42  82 -55N 315

Occultation prediction for hyderabad india

       day  Time   P   StarNo Mag Moon   CA   PA
 y   m  d  h  m  s         Alt Alt Az  
09 Dec  1 13 13 38 d     559   6.5 25  71  75N  85
09 Dec  1 13 17 13 Gr    552   2.9 26 ** GRAZE
09 Dec  1 13 17 51 M     552   2.9 26  71 -30N 339
09 Dec  1 13 27 24 D     560   3.6 28  71  39N  49
09 Dec  1 13 43 13 d     567   6.8 31  72  84S 106
09 Dec  1 13 56 44 m     564   6.2 34  73  32S 159
09 Dec  1 13 56 53 Gr    564   6.2 34 ** GRAZE
09 Dec  1 14  8 57 d     570   7.0 37  73  88N  99
09 Dec  1 14 29  3 r     560   3.6 42  73 -77S 268

Occultation prediction for KOLKATA india

       day  Time   P   Star No  Mag Moon   CA   PA
 y   m  d  h  m  s       Alt Alt Az  
09 Dec  1 13 20 42 d     559  6.5 31  75  68N  77
09 Dec  1 13 21 59 Gr    552  2.9 31 ** GRAZE
09 Dec  1 13 26  2 M     552  2.9 33  75 -30N 339
09 Dec  1 13 37 44 D     560  3.6 35  76  31N  41
09 Dec  1 13 49 39 d     567  6.8 38  76  88N  97
09 Dec  1 13 50 12 D     564  6.2 38  77  60S 130
09 Dec  1 14 16 48 d     570  7.0 44  78  80N  90
09 Dec  1 14 37 59 r     560  3.6 49  79 -85S 277






Timings are in UT. To convert these into IST add 5 hours and 30 mins.

P: Phenomenon, R – Reappearance, D – Disappearance

Mag (v): Visual Magnitude of the star occulted.

CA: Cusp angle of the event. This is the number of degrees from the northern (N) or southern (S) cusp to the event. The positive (+) events occur on dark limb and are easiest to see; negative (-) events occur on bright limb. See the figure below.

PA: is the position angle measured in degrees. Similar to the position angle for double stars, it is the angle from due north (0°) to the point on the Moon's limb where the Event occurs. 90° is celestial east (to the left), 180° is celestial south, 270° is celestial west (to the right). See left figure below.







Pleiades occultation by Moon oN Dec 1st, 2009

Eclipse of stars in night

Imagine moon covering the sun to bring darkness in broad daylight, what would that event be? Eclipse, you would say but is it really eclipse? Well give it a thought. We know eclipse as “An astronomical object coming under shadow of another astronomical body and seen from other astronomical body” but the solar eclipse is not coming under this category because we are on the object where shadow is falling. So then what is this event? In astronomy we call it an “occultation” which means that a celestial body is directly coming in front and blocking the light from another body. Solar eclipse is a perfect example of occultation.
Now the greatest eclipse of the century is history and why we are discussing this again? Moon, our nearest neighbor, keeps on coming in front of so many stars in night that each night one can see numerous occultations. So one does not have to wait for a solar eclipse to happen to see an occultation. Now the whole talk about occultation goes to an interesting juncture where moon comes in front of a group of stars and in span of few hours you see 10-15 stars being occulted.  As the occultation can and only happen with stars and planets and lying on the path of ecliptic, some interesting events occur. Pleiades star cluster happens to be in Taurus and it provides us humans a rare treat in visual astronomy when moon comes in front of it.
December 1st 2009 night is one of those nights when moon is coming in front of the Pleiades as seen from earth and we get a chance to see this event though the moon is almost full and most of the Pleiades stars get washed out in the brilliance of it.



Occultation of Pleiades photographed by SPACE team on March 30, 2009

Occultations have been used to know more about the celestial mechanics as well as these have helped us finding new things in the skies. The discovery of the Uranian Rings was made by astronomers James L. Elliot, Edward W. Dunham, and Douglas J. Mink on March 10, 1977, using the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, and it was an unexpected event. They planned to use the occultation of the star SAO 158687 by Uranus to study the planet's atmosphere. However, when their observations were analyzed, they found that the star disappeared briefly from view five times both before and after it was eclipsed by the planet. They deduced that a system of narrow rings was present. Observations of occultation by Neptune were observed by UP state Observtaory, nainitaal and they confirmed presence of rings around Neptune. Stellar occultations by Moon gives us more and more accurate data about the Lunar orbit.
On December 1st 2009, around 7:00 pm IST get hold of any optical astronomical instrument you have. Binocular, spotting scope, small refracting scope or a telescope. These all will show you the moon sitting pretty in front of Pleiades.



Moon with Pleiades at 7 pm from Delhi

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Next bright star occultation coming up for india (path going through Maharahstra, andhra pradesh)

On 2009 Dec 24 UT, the 58 km diameter asteroid (224) Oceana will occult a 6.6 mag star in the constellation Auriga for observers along a path across India, Arabia, Africa.

In the case of an occultation, the combined light of the asteroid and the star will drop by 5.9 mag to 12.5 mag (the magnitude of the asteroid) for at most 4.7 seconds.




For interactive google map click here courtesy BREIT IDEAS Observatory

This update is based on UNSO/Flagstaff astrometry for the asteroid kindly provided by Alice Monet, TMO astrometry for the asteroid kindly provided by Bill Owen, historical astrometry from the MPC files (via AstDys), and the following catalogs for the star position: .

The event at a glimpse
----------------------
    * Rank: 98
    * date and approx. time of event: 2009 Dec 24, 21:23  - 2009 Dec 24, 21:40  UT
    * magnitude of target star: 6.6
    * magnitude drop [mag]: 5.9
    * estimated maximum duration [s]: 4.7
    * Moon: 52 % sunlit, 78° distance
    * Sun: 167° distance
    * rough path description: India, Arabia, Africa

The occultation path
--------------------
    * approximate projected width [km]: 59
    * 1 sigma uncertainty interval [path widths]: +/- 0.37
    * 1 sigma uncertainty interval [seconds]: +/- 2.4
    * 1 sigma uncertainty interval approx RA,DE ["]: (+/- .027 +/- .017)
    * 1 sigma uncertainty ellipse (major, minor, PA): ( .027", .017", 88° )
    * approx speed of asteroid's shadow [km/s]: 12.4406


Prediction courtesy -
Calculator (s): Steve Preston
Date of update: 2009 Nov 14, 21:37 UT

www.asteroidoccultation.com

Steve Preston
7640 NE 32nd St
Medina, WA 98039
425-688-9965

mailto: stevepr@acm.org

What is an Asteroid Occultation ?

 What is an Asteroid Occultation ?

Occultation is a generic astronomical term for a situation where one body "covers" or "passes in front of" another body.  Eclipses and transits are common examples of occultations.  In a solar eclipse, the moon occults (covers) the sun for observers on the earth.  In a lunar eclipse, the earth occults the sun for observers on the moon.  We use the term asteroid occultation for the situation where an asteroid occults a star for observers on the earth. During an asteroid occultation "event" the asteroid momentarily hides the star.  We use the term "asteroid's shadow" to refer to the "shadow" thrown by the asteroid with respect to the light from the occulted star. And the term "shadow path" refers to the path of the asteroid's shadow as it passes across the earth. Depending on the size of the asteroid, its distance from the earth, and its speed in its orbit, the asteroid may cover the star for a fraction of a second or close to a minute.  If the star is relatively bright compared to the asteroid, an observer will see a noticeable drop in magnitude as when the asteroid covers the star.  As asteroids move through the sky they often pass in front of stars from the perspective of an observer on the earth.  However, the vast majority of these occultations involve small asteroids and relatively dim stars, and these events would be very hard to detect with amateur equipment.