The Moon and Aldebaran’s Disappearing Act

September 5th, 2015

If you live in the United Kingdom, you have the rare opportunity to observe one of astronomy’s best magic tricks – the disappearance of Aldebaran by the Moon. Called an occultation, this event happens when one celestial object (for example, the Moon or a planet) moves over another (usually a planet or a bright star) and thereby hides it from view.

(The word “occult” is Latin and means to conceal.)

This doesn’t happen very often (I’ve never seen Aldebaran occulted myself) so I encourage you to cross it off your astronomical bucket list. The bad news is that you’ll need to get up early (around 5:30 a.m.) but, on the plus side, it’s a Sunday and both Venus and Mars should also be visible on the eastern horizon.

If you live in the eastern United States you might also get lucky but, depending upon your location, the star may already be covered by the time the Moon rises.

Timing is everything and the start, end and duration of the event will greatly depend upon your location. To see a full list of locations, complete with times, from Europe to Canada and the United States, visit the International Occultation Timing Associations webpage here.

Good luck and clear skies to you!



All Astronomical Events for September 5th 2015

04:48 UT – The almost last quarter gibbous Moon passes Aldebaran. (Naked eye, Taurus, pre-dawn sky.)

09:54 UT – Last Quarter Moon. (Naked eye, Taurus, pre-dawn sky.)

Mars leaves Cancer and enters Leo. (98% illuminated, magnitude 1.8, diameter 3.8”. Naked eye, pre-dawn sky.)



Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.

All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.

Astronomical events taken from 2015: An Astronomical Year, available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom.

2015 An Astronomical Year (Kindle Edition) 2016 An Astronomical Year Paperback Cover 2016 The Night Sky Sights

2015: An Astronomical Year

2016: An Astronomical Year 2016: The Night Sky Sights The Astronomical Almanac (2016-2020) The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook (Pocket Edition)

(Kindle & Paperback)

(Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback)


Amazon – US

Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US
Amazon – UK Amazon – UK  Amazon – UK Amazon – UK

Amazon – UK

Details of all available books across the world can be found here or by visiting the author’s page on Amazon. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at astronomywriter “at”


3 thoughts on “The Moon and Aldebaran’s Disappearing Act

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s