Sirius Star Asteroid, Will Go Dark On Monday For ‘First Time’ Ever, what we know

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Sirius star asteroid, Will Go Darkish On Monday For ‘First Time’ Ever.

Sirius, the brightest star within the night time sky and the fifth closest star to our photo voltaic system, will probably be briefly occulted Monday by an asteroid hurtling across the Solar. The primary time this occasion has ever been predicted by astronomers, it is going to be seen as a dimming of Sirius’ vibrant gentle for a split-second at round 22:30 p.m. on Monday from a slender ‘shadow path’ by means of western Mexico, central U.S. and Canada.

Astronomers name such an occasion an occultation, which is when a celestial object is hidden from view by one other celestial object.

The place is Sirius within the night time sky?

You’ll be able to’t miss it. Actually, it’s one of many best stars to seek out in all the night time sky, firstly as a result of it’s the brightest, but in addition as a result of the three stars in Orion’s Belt level downwards to Sirius at the moment of yr. If you happen to’re within the northern hemisphere, go outdoors after darkish and look to the southern sky. You will notice the well-known constellation of Orion the Hunter, with the three vibrant belt stars, Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. Observe these three stars in a line all the way down to the southeastern horizon and you will note Sirius winking.

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What’s 4388 Jürgenstock?

It’s a 3.1 mile-wide asteroid from the asteroid belt. It was named after its discoverer, Venezuelan astrometrist Jürgen Inventory. It orbits the Solar as soon as each Three years and seven months.

When was the final time Sirius was occulted?

“That is the primary occultation of Sirius ever predicted,” says Dr. David W. Dunham on the Worldwide Occultation Timing Affiliation, Center East part (IOTA/ME). “The star catalogs and asteroid ephemerides weren’t correct sufficient to foretell such occasions earlier than 1975 so no one tried to foretell such occultations earlier than these years.” Dunham explains that Sirius is much from the ecliptic, the place most asteroids roam, and occultations of stars like Regulus, in Leo, are extra continuously occulted.

The place and when will the occultation be observable from?

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At exactly 05:21 a.m. Common Time on February 19, 2019, although it can really be late on February 18, 2019 within the elements of the world the place the occultation is seen from, specifically Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Beginning within the South Pacific, the ‘shadow path’ will transfer by means of Baja California, Sinaloa and Chihuahua in Mexico, then by means of New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota within the U.S., and eventually into Manitoba and much western Ontario in Canada. There’s a wonderful Google Map right here (although additionally, you will must convert from Common Time to your native time), whereas the sensible Occultation Pages hosts a full and detailed rationalization of the occasion and of the trail. It additionally contains particulars on how devoted novice astronomers inside the predicted shadow path may also help astronomers scale back the scale of the ‘uncertainty zone’, and in addition methods to report the occasion utilizing a digicam and even only a smartphone.

The ‘different’ occultation on February 18

Although uncommon, it’s really not the one occultation taking place on February 18. “Apart from the occultation of Sirius within the night, there may be additionally an occultation of the 4.2-magnitude. star chi Virginis within the morning that will probably be seen from southern Texas, close to Corpus Christi, and northern Mexico,” says Dunham. “Because the Moon will probably be practically full, it is going to be arduous to identify that one by bare eye, however it will be straightforward with binoculars.”

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Bizarrely, there are these aren’t any different occultations of stars brighter than sixth magnitude, the restrict of naked-eye visibility, that will probably be observable from North America throughout 2019.

What is going to observers discover?

Occultation Pages means that observers within the shadow path will see “the star fade over a interval of a number of tenths of a second, in all probability is not going to disappear utterly, after which will recuperate its full brightness over one other a number of tenths of a second.” Nonetheless, it additionally suggests {that a} half-second drop in brightness could also be observable for these standing close to the sting of the trail.

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