WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

See a bright star disappear

Posted March 4

Tonight Saturday, March 4, the waxing crescent Moon will pass between Earth and Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus the Bull. This lunar-occultation will be visible here in Raleigh as well the continental United States south of a line running through Vancouver, British Columbia, Fargo N.D.; and Rochester N.Y,

You won't need a telescope to see the disappearing act. Look west a few minutes before 11:00 p.m. The star will disappear behind the unlit part of the crescent moon, reemerging 48 minutes later.

If you have a good pair of binoculars or a small telescope, you may be able to see some detail in the craters, hills, and valleys on the moon’s edge.

The timing of the event varies by a few minutes across North Carolina because Aldebaran is over 380 trillion miles away while the Moon is a just 230,000 miles away. The star will disappear 1-2 minutes later for observers along the Outer Banks and points south of Raleigh; 1-3 minutes earlier as you move further west into the mountains.

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