For those of you not subscribed and who don't know . . . ================================================================== This Is SKY & TELESCOPE's AstroAlert for Occultations ================================================================== This is a reminder about the spectacular occultation of Jupiter by the 26% sunlit waning crescent Moon that will occur early Tuesday morning, December 7th, visible from most of North America west of the Rocky Mountains. A good overview of the occultation is at http://www.skyandtelescope.com (click on "Observing Highlights" on the left to get to "A Late-Night Jupiter Occultation") with maps showing the times and circumstances of the event, and a view of the Moon with the path of Jupiter behind it for several major cities. Details of the occultation, with local predictions for hundreds of locations and details of the southern-limit grazing (actually, partial) occultation across Texas (San Antonio and s. of Houston) and the Florida Keys, are on the main IOTA Web site at http://www.lunar-occultations.com/iota . Note that the reappearance of the 6.5-mag. star ZC 1850 will occur during the Jupiter occultation for many locations; predictions for it are also given on the above Web site. A lunar occultation of a bright planet by a crescent Moon is a rare event, especially when considering weather, etc. What can be done during a lunar occultation of Jupiter? I think little, if anything, of scientific value, but the event, especially the dark-side reappearance, will be easy to see naked-eye, weather permitting, so it is a good educational event, to teach your friends and colleagues about occultations, and show them an interesting astronomical event. Now that sensitive video cameras have been purchased and used by many amateur astronomers, it would be interesting to use them to record this unusual event; videos could be of educational value, as well as just interesting. As far as I know, no lunar occultation of Jupiter on the dark side of a crescent Moon at night has been video recorded in either black-and-white or in color with the sensitive video cameras now available. It will be neat to record the dark-side lunar features illuminated by Earthshine for the dark-limb events involving Jupiter. As I see it, two new things can be done: 1. Observe at the inner edge of the southern partial occultation zone, to video record the maximum extent of the partial occultation, and the short reappearance(s) of the southern polar regions of Jupiter in lunar valleys near the lunar south pole; there may even be some value in this, since no graze observations are known within 0.3 deg. of librations for this graze. Harold Povenmire is leading the effort to observe the Jupiter graze near Marathon, FL. His phone, in Indian Harbour Beach, near Melbourne, is 321-777-1303; his cell phone is 321-544-5658. He plans to observe somewhere near US 1 and Coco Plum Dr., and as I remember, he'll be staying at the Holiday Inn, 13201 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050, toll-free phone 866-270-5110. Clear Sky Clock shows that it will be partly cloudy at the time. Clear skies are forecast for southern Texas, except for along the coast - Houston and other areas within about 70 miles of the coast are expected to be overcast. The graze zone passes over San Antonio and south of Houston. The farther west along the path you can go, the clearer it will be, but also the Moon's and Jupiter's altitude above the horizon will be lower. 2. I think within about 30 deg. of a central occultation, video record the reappearance of Jupiter with a sensitive camera, like the Supercircuits PC164C. In that area, it should be possible to image the ring of Jupiter for a few seconds before the ball of the planet reappears and overwhelms it; I think it would be the first detection of the ring of Jupiter with relatively small telescopes, and probably the first Earth-based video recording of it. The "near-central" total occultation, although visible from a wide area, is not so easy, since almost the entire astronomically populated parts of the USA and Canada are expected to be clouded out. The best area of clear skies is predicted to be the Great Plains, from North Dakota to Texas (except the coastal areas), but clouds are expected to linger in eastern Kansas, n.e. Oklahoma, and s.e. Nebraska. It will also be clear west to the Rocky Mountains, where the altitude of the event is quite low. Another area of clear skies is expected to be centered over New Brunswick, including much of Nova Scotia and part of northern Maine. The event might be seen in partly cloudy skies in the southeastern USA, over most of Florida, southern Georgia, and the southern Carolinas. Good luck with your observations of this event, wherever you are! I plan to leave Maryland, since it's predicted to be very cloudy there. What I will do will be posted in the early afternoon at http://iota.jhuapl.edu . David Dunham, IOTA -- See message header for info on list archives or unsubscribing, and please send personal replies to the author, not the list.