Hey, everyone! The deliciously named Full Worm Moon, so named because of all the worms that start to crawl through the muddy ground this time of year, will be in your skies this coming Sunday, March 12. With that and all the talk about the moon occulting Aldebaran last weekend, and occulting the sun last week, the moon’s had a busy week of blocking stuff. After all, what’s an eclipse if not an occultation that happens close enough for there to be a shadow?
The moon can occult a bunch of things as it orbits and moves across the sky. The moon’s orbit is inclined by about 5 degrees relative to the plane of Earth’s orbit, which we see as the ecliptic, the sun’s path across the sky. So anything within about 5 degrees above or below the ecliptic can be occulted by the moon at one time or another.
Here’s five things other than Aldebaran, the sun, and our solar system’s planets that can be occulted by the moon:
- Antares: The brightest star in the constellation Scorpius.
- The Pleiades: Messier 45, the spectacular naked-eye open star cluster in Taurus.
- Spica: The brightest star in the constellation Virgo.
- Regulus: The brightest star in the constellation Leo.
- Zubenelgenubi: The flamboyantly named brightest star in the constellation Libra.
Have a great weekend, everyone, and clear skies!