Xmas gift - Moon occults Spica

Xmas gift - Moon occults Spica

Xmas gift - Moon occults Spica

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Dec. 24 2005 4:50 PM

Xmas gift - Moon occults Spica

So, for the eight of you who will actually read this blog a) over the weekend, b) over the holiday (yes, holiday) weekend, and c) in the United States and Canada, you may get a special treat.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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On Christmas morning, the Moon will occult (pass in front of) the bright star Spica. Star occultations are pretty neat. You can watch the Moon get closer to the star, and closer, and then blip! The star is gone.

What you see and when you see it depends on where you live. For me, in northern California, I miss the whole thing (if it doesn't rain -- and it will -- I will see the Moon pass very close to Spica, but it'll be a clean miss). Check the link above to see where you stand. There are diagrams there (like the one I stole reproduced above) that'll help.

Oh-- you won't need a telescope or binoculars or anything. Just your eyes, and, most likely, a warm coat. And coffee! It'll happen early in the morning for most folks.

I think (hope) that Sky and Telescope will forgive me for using the image. I write for them. :-)