Log In

Reset Password
BERMUDA | RSS PODCAST

Island stargazers may witness asteroid block star’s light

Bermuda stargazers could help an international astronomy body track a rare event.

An asteroid is due to block out one of the brightest stars in the sky — and volunteers have been asked to help follow and time its progress.

Astronomers from the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) say the event — when asteroid 163 Erigone passes in front of the star Regulus — is extremely rare.

The association's website said: “Astronomers have been predicting occultations of stars by asteroids for almost 40 years and Regulus is the brightest star to ever be predicted to be occulted by a sizeable asteroid anywhere in the USA.

“So it really is likely to be a once in a lifetime experience for most who live within the path.”

According to experts, the asteroid may block Regulus — the brightest star in the constellation Leo — for up to 14 seconds in the early hours of Thursday.

The event will be visible from parts of the US north east, Ontario in Canada, as well as Bermuda and viewers are likely to be able to see the event if the sky is clear.

But the asteroid's shadow will hit Bermuda first, before racing north west across the Atlantic Ocean.

Anyone interested in viewing the occultation — similar to an eclipse — are being asked to observe and time the event and report some basic observations to the IOTA.

The asteroid is expected to pass in front of Regulus around 3.06am Bermuda time (2.06am ET) on Thursday.

The IOTA has released a map and tips to help observers track the stellar event, as well as guidelines on how to time it.

The organisation said that people who submit their observations will be helping to build knowledge about the asteroid and the night sky.

And it added that even people who check, but fail to see anything unusual, should submit their findings as well.

For more information, visit http://www.occultwatcher.net/regulus-erigone/.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published March 18, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 17, 2014 at 11:48 pm)

Island stargazers may witness asteroid block star’s light

What you
Need to
Know
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon