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Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Unaided eye Asteroidal Occultation!

Image from Dave Gee's interactive Occultation Map site (click to enlarge, or better yet, visit the site).

On Monday July 24, minor planet 347 Pariana will occult the unaided eye visible (mag 3.7) star xi Tauri (HIP 16083). While asteroids occult stars reasonably often, an Asteroid occulting a unaided eye visible star is quite rare. The event will take place at around 4:00 am ACST (4:30 AM AEST) (see details here). The event takes place in the morning, but before astronomical twilight, so xi Tauri should be easily visible (and its disappearance also visible).

This image (click to enlarge) shows the eastern horizon as seen from Adelaide at 4:00 am ACST on the 24th. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia.

The chord of the asteroid occultation passes through Newcastle, Lithgow and Cowra, so NSW folks will have the best opportunities closes to them. From my point of view, the closest good observation site is Keith, a fair hike away. If the weather is good I may attempt it.

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