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    Regulus will vanish
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2013 Jul 6, 07:24 -0700

    I added a comment about this in another thread, but it's worth a separate message. It's not navigation, but it IS one of the traditional "57 navigation stars".

    On the night of March 19-20, 2014, a few minutes after 1:00 am EST, the first magnitude star Regulus will vanish from the sky for about a dozen seconds. The star will be occulted by the twelfth magnitude asteroid Erigone. That's amazing enough. I estimate that first magnitude stars are occulted by asteroids large enough to be noticed roughly once a decade, and very few such occultations have been predicted in advance. But what makes this even more AMAZING is that the 40-mile-wide occultation path (the moving shadow of the asteroid) is expected to pass right over New York City. What are the odds!? After that the shadow crosses Syracuse, New York and then heads up into Canada. A few minutes before NYC, the shadow should pass over or near Bermuda. This is going to be HUGE news when the time comes. If the skies are clear, I would guess that as many as a hundred thousand people may witness this event with their own eyes, limited only by the weather and the late hour, and many millions will see video of this bright star winking out. This will be easy for casual observers, and also potentially great amateur astronomy. Exact timings (relatively easy these days with video) will yield a detailed profile of the asteroid's shape and should also easily detect any small moons. Note that updates to the asteroid's orbit as the big day approaches may shift the path ten or twenty miles east or west.

    The date and extraordinary nature of this asteroid occultation were discovered and publicized by Aldo Vitagliano using his SOLEX software, which I highly recommend for fans of accurate almanac data who don't mind technical details: http://chemistry.unina.it/~alvitagl/solex/.

    -FER


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