Crescent Moon to Occult Regulus Tuesday
Monday's twilight sky across North America will reveal the crescent Moon sitting between Venus (to its lower right) and Saturn (upper left). The Moon is on its way to occulting Regulus on the afternoon or early evening of Tuesday the 19th.
The Regulus occultation happens after sunset for observers from northern Brazil to Florida and Georgia, but it takes place during broad daylight for many more North Americans who are equipped with a telescope and are up for the challenge.
The maps at right show the situation at your site both for when the star disappears behind the Moon's dark edge, and when it reappears later from behind the Moon's bright edge.
To see Regulus in daylight you'll need a telescope (though binoculars may suffice for observing the disappearance during twilight from Florida). Locate the Moon and look carefully for Regulus to its upper left. In a bright sky the Moon's earthlit dark limb will be invisible. Regulus will appear to hang in blue emptiness in your telescope's eyepiece, then vanish without warning. So set your scope up early, and keep constant watch.
Seeing the star's reappearance will be even more challenging. If your scope is motorized and can track the stars, set it up to follow Regulus. Then watch carefully when the lit crescent Moon appears in your eyepiece; the star won't be far behind.
If you capture any images of the occultation, we'd love to see them. Feel free to post your pictures in our online photo gallery.
Detailed local predictions for this event can be found on the International Occultation Timing Association's website.