Grazing Occultation of Bright Star During Tonight’s Lunar Eclipse

David Dunham of the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) writes:

"Observers watching the eclipsed Moon with binoculars in northeastern North America tonight (Saturday evening), March 3rd, will be able to see a 5th-magnitude star just below the lower edge of the rising Moon. At about 6:30 pm EST, while the Moon is still totally eclipsed, the star will suddenly vanish as the Moon covers the star. Twenty minutes to more than an hour later, depending on your location, the star will suddenly reappear at the upper right side of the Moon.

"Predicted local times for these disappearance and reappearance events, and a view of the Moon showing the paths of the star relative to it for 10 major northeastern North American cities, are on a special Web page for this event at; it includes a link to the main IOTA Web site that has predictions for many dozens of cities. The southern edge, or limit, of the region of visibility of this occultation will cross central Virginia. In a 1.2-mile-wide band just north of this line, there will be a spectacular grazing occultation, with the star disappearing and reappearing several times among mountains and craters near the lunar south pole. The Web site above includes detailed maps of the path, along with information about expeditions that are planned to observe the graze. These expeditions will be located between Ashland and Richmond, and east of Parksley near the middle of the Virginia part of the Delmarva Peninsula."

Dunham's home e-mail is (but he will not have access to it after he leaves home with his own expedition by about 11:30 am Sat.) His office e-mail is (but this e-mail will be unavailable from 7 am to 7 pm Sat. for server maintenance). His telephones: office, 240-228-5609; home, 301-474-4722; mobile 301-526-5590.

See also the occultation alert and discussion group:

Roger W. Sinnott
Senior Editor
Sky & Telescope