Aldebaran occultation from Toronto
In this illustration, the dark edge of the Moon is about to occult the star Aldebaran, as seen from Toronto, Ontario.
Aldebaran Occulted!

The brightest star in Taurus winks out in daylight.

Although we had a cloudy start to occultation day (April 10) here in Victoria, British Columbia, the sky cleared in the early afternoon for the occultation of Aldebaran by the dark limb of the Moon.

Aldebaran occultation from Toronto
In this illustration, the dark edge of the Moon is about to occult the star Aldebaran, as seen from Toronto, Ontario.

I observed the stellar eclipse with a 66-millimetre apochromatic refractor working at 50× and riding on a GoTo tracking mount. Aldebaran was a lovely, orange glint contrasting nicely with the blue afternoon sky. Frankly, I was surprised by how well Aldebaran showed up — before this occasion, I’d never attempted to view a star in daylight with a scope this small. Whenever I looked away to check the time, it would take my eye a moment to lock in on Aldebaran again, though. But once I had it, the star was very easy to see.

The occultation went as they always do. Literally, one moment the star was there, the next it wasn’t. It’s the very definition of instantaneous. The biggest challenge was trying not to blink at the crucial instant.

Owen-Aldebaran occultation
Aldebaran’s reappearance taken from Edmonton, Alberta. Atmospheric turbulence has distorted the star’s image. (Tom Owen)

I hope you had good weather wherever you were. 

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