On March 19 and 20, sky gazers will be able to view the huge Asteroid 163 Erigone's really quick eclipse on the bright star Regulus in the Leo constellation. The celestial event offers the rare viewing experience for those across the northeastern North America and the citizen scientists are asked to help in tracking the occultation event.
"Regulus shines right through moonlight and light pollution that's in the sky - even the light pollution over a city like New York. Just be sure to shield your eyes against any glary lights, and Regulus should be easy to find," Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine, declared in a statement according to the Space.com report. In the early hours of Thursday, March 20, the 45-mile-wide asteroid will eclipse the bright star Regulus at about 2:06 am EDT (0606GMT) for 14 seconds up to two minutes depending on the location.
"The times of the occulation depend on where you are located. Generally speaking, it will be at 2:06 a.m. in New York City, 2:07 a.m. in upstate New York, and 2:08 a.m. north of Lake Ontario," the Space.com report reads. The 2014 Asteroid Eclipse will be visible as well in parts of Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, upstate New York and Ontario.
Additionally, viewing the sky without weather disturbances will make the asteroid eclipse visible to the naked eye from New York City to other places along the populated swath in the US northeast and eastern Canada. To locate it, viewers are recommended to go outside at about 2 am and look at the Moon with their arms put straight out on either side of the body.
In the suggested position, the bright star Regulus can be found directly above the observer's right hand at approximately the same height in the Moon. For those who want to view the asteroid occultation of Regulus on the Internet, the Slooh skywatching Web site will offer a live viewing starting at 1:45 am EDT (0545 GMT) on Thursday.
Another webcast on the asteroid and Regulus will be available on Space.com. Meanwhile, the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) asked the amateurs to make observations on when the bright star Regulus begins to disappear from view and for how long.
The sighting can be recorded using only the eyes or a DSLR camera set in movie mode. More details on how to play a part in the Asteroid 163 Erigone occultation on the bright star Regulus is available at this link: occultations.org/Regulus2014. The results gathered from different locations will allow the astronomers to have a better estimate on the size and shape of the asteroid.
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