12/12/2016 – Ephemeris – The Moon will cover the eye of the bull tonight
Ephemeris for Monday, December 12th. The Sun will rise at 8:11. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 51 minutes, setting at 5:02. The Moon, 1 day before full, will set at 7:21 tomorrow morning.
Late tonight the nearly full moon will pass in front of the bright star Aldebaran. This will be a difficult event to spot due to the brightness of the Moon. It will take a telescope at least to spot Aldebaran, the bright star the is the bloodshot eye in the face of Taurus the bull. It might help to spot Aldebaran an hour or two early, while it’s some distance left of the Moon. Aldebaran will disappear at the Moon’s left edge, while its a tiny distance from the bright edge of the Moon at around 10:54 p.m. Aldebaran will reappear at about 12:09 a.m. Make sure to start observing several minutes early since these are low precision times, plus your location affects the times. These times are most accurate in the Western Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.
The Moon moves from west to east, so the occultation events will happen earlier to the west and later to the east. Planetarium programs can be used to simulate the position of the Moon and stars and can be used to estimate the occultation start and end times. To be accurate your location longitude and latitude must be entered in the program.
The times I developed are from the free program Cartes du Ciel and are within a minute of that provided by the more accurate program Occult4, which can be downloaded for free at the site below. Planetarium programs are close enough, however. Occult4 is somewhat difficult to use.
If you’re out keep a look out for some bright Geminid Meteors. Their shower will reach its peak tomorrow night.
Eclipse and occultation information and software can be accessed at http://occultations.org/ the website of IOTA, the International Occultation Timing association.