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Monday, November 30, 2009


Occultation of the Pleaides, December 1, 2009

North-eastern horizon as seen from southern Australia around 10:00 pm local daylight saving time on December 1. Northern Australia and much of Indonesia will see similar views at around 9:00 pm local standard time. The Moon is poised to cover some of the stars in the Pleiades cluster.

On the evening of Tuesday December 1 the nearly full Moon will pass in front of the beautiful Pleiades star cluster. This event can be seen from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and parts of Japan. Detailed timings for SE Asia in Universal Time can be found via this link (and see below).

Because the Moon is so bright, it will be best to watch this event with binoculars or a small telescope. Set up and start watching 30-15 minutes before had so you don't miss the disappearance.

Binocular view of the beginning of the occultation as seen from the Northern Territory. Celeano and Taygeta are just about to be covered. You will not see any nebulosity because of the Moons brightness, I just can't get the software to make it go away.

In Australia, the Northern Territory has the best view. Darwin sees the most bright stars covered, starting with the bright star Celeano at 21:51 ACST, followed by bright Taygeta, then Sterope and Maia, finishing 23:27. next best is Alice Springs, which sees Taygeta covered at 22:12 ACST, followed by 18 Tauri and Sterope.

WA has good views too. Perth sees Taygeta covered at 21:18 AWDST, followed by Sterope and 22 Tauri. People in Northern WA will see more stars covered.

Northern QLD sees a few stars covered, Townsville sees Taygeta and 18 Tauri covered at roughly the same time, 23:54 AEST.

Binocular view of the beginning of the occultation as seen from South-eastern Australia, just before 18 Tauri is covered up..

South eastern Australia sees just 18 Tauri covered, starting from 23:28 ACDST (Adelaide), 23:33 AEST (Brisbane) and the morning of December 2 for Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Hobart, from between 00:11 AEDST to 00:26 AEDST.

More details, timings and links at Southern Skywatch. For Maia occultation track maps see here, and Taygeta timings (UT) and track maps see here. Other locations generally see here.

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