Asteroid Occultation in November

Path of Feronia
Sky & Telescope illustration.
North Carolina skywatchers have a chance to see the asteroid 72 Feronia pass in front of an 8th-magnitude star around 2 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on November 5, 2003. The chart at left goes to magnitude 11 and will help in locating the star, which lies just 6° southwest of Regulus. Observers in the path will see the star disappear for up to 4 seconds at around 7:02 Universal Time, leaving only the asteroid (which is magnitude 14 and may not be noticed) and the star’s 12th-magnitude companion in view. That companion is expected to be hidden at about 7:05 UT in Quebec, but glare from the primary will make that event subtle. The International Occultation Timing Association may be able to refine this prediction in the days prior to this event; check its Web site for updates.

Many other interesting occultations for November are listed in Dunham’s article in the March issue of Sky & Telescope, page 101, (and summarized in the online article "Planetary Occultations for 2003",but they generally require large amateur instruments. For Europe and the Middle East on November 1st, as Uranus approaches and recedes from an 11.5-magnitude star, the star may dim considerably as it passes behind the planet’s rings. North Americans have a chance to see Saturn occult a 9th-magnitude star on the night of November 14–15 and an 8th-magnitude star on November 24–25. In western North America and Hawaii, Neptune’s moon Triton covers a 13.4-magnitude star for up to 2 minutes near 3:50 UT on November 29th.

More Information

If you're interested in timing occultations, be sure to refer to the article "How and Why To Make Occultation Timings" elsewhere on this Web site. Finder charts, detailed maps, observing news, and information on events worldwide are carried in the Occultation Newsletter of the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA). For local data about all events possibly visible from your location, send your longitude and latitude, $1.00, and a large, self-addressed envelope to Jim Hart, 2616 Monte Cresta, Belmont, CA 94002-1214, or obtain the information free by e-mail request.