NASA/YouTube
This screen grab from a video explaining how an asteroid will eclipse a star on March 20.

Star-Stealing Asteroid Streaks Across Sky: Watch Erigone Blot Out Regulus

ICTMN Staff
3/19/14

At precisely 2:05 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday morning—essentially late on the night of Wednesday March 19—the 45-mile-wide asteroid 163 Erigone will occult Regulus, the brightest star in the sky these days, which can be found in the front foot of Leo the lion.

This is a rare celestial event that does not require a telescope. It will be visible along a 67-mile-wide swath that cuts right through New York City and parts of Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, upstate New York, and Ontario, Canada, according to Space.com. The star will disappear for 14 seconds to two minutes, depending on where watchers are situated, Space.com said.

Erigone is a mythological name, given to the 45-mile-diameter space rock upon its discovery in 1876 by Henri Joseph Perrotin, Space.com said. It is most likely made of carbon compounds, making it a garden-variety asteroid, sharing the composition with 75 percent of its brethren.

The occultation will be broadcast online at the Slooh skywatching website, beginning at 1:45 a.m. EDT on Thursday, as well as on Space.com. Not a bad way to spend the eve of spring.

Below, a video explains the machinations and where to find the star in the sky.

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