Starless Sunday

THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY IS ABOUT TO VANISH: On Monday night, Feb. 18th, the brightest star in the sky will disappear. It’s a rare eclipse of Sirius by asteroid 4388 Jürgenstock. As recently as two days ago, specialists thought the eclipse would be visible in a narrow corridor cutting across the central USA. New calculations, however, suggest a different path:

Sirius’s shadow will cross southern parts of Chile and Argentina, Central America and the Caribbean. This will happen on Feb. 18th between 09:11 pm PST and 09:27 pm PST.

According to David Dunham of the International Occultation Timing Association, the eclipse could last for as much as 1.8 seconds, with Sirius fading to minimum brightness for 0.2 seconds of that time. The angular diameter of Sirius is 0.006 arcseconds. Asteroid Jürgenstock is just a little wider: 0.007 arcseconds, so theoretically Sirius should be completely blocked. “But the asteroid may be a little larger or smaller than predicted, and it’s likely to be irregularly-shaped, so there is a good chance that even at the center, the star will not completely disappear,” notes Dunham.

Named after Venezuelan astrometrist Jürgen Stock, asteroid 4388 Jürgenstock orbits the sun in the inner regions of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is approximately 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) in diameter. Video recordings of the eclipse could help trace the shape of the distant space rock.


About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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13 Responses to Starless Sunday

  1. Micki says:

    ….and now…for more on the weather:

    Long-range forecasts show no sign that the cold snap will ease, and NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center indicates a nearly a 100 percent chance of temperatures at levels far below normal for at least the next two weeks.


  2. Micki says:

    Holy moly…bad enough, but catch the mention of soliciting in the confessional.


  3. Micki says:

    I’m all about transparency and shining a light on issues that should be exposed, but the timing of the release of this book will focus attention on the wrong message…IMO

    Frank Bruni is quite the thinker/writer, I believe…


  4. Micki says:


    Really? Coulda fooled me. Must be evolving science. 😉


  5. Carol says:

    My father had Casa Oceana Malibu built as his residence when I was in college. There is a website as it is now an event venue.

    I googled it, Doc. Your dad built that? $$$ I’m sure it didn’t cost that much by today’s standards, but that was valuable land even back then and probably cost enough.

    I see how it came about, you went off to college, now he had money to build it, lol. When the kids moved out, we finally built a garage, then put a deck on the pool. We could have used both of those things when they were here but we couldn’t afford them then.

    Not many pictures of the inside of the place, finally saw a distance view where I could tell the shape of it.


    • David B. Benson says:

      Upper middle class back then. The living room has been torn down and rebuilt wider than I recall. Other than that, no change to the structure.

      Autofill went away again.


  6. Carol says:

    I has been snowing for the past couple hours. I don’t think it’s going to be anything but the usual couple inches we keep getting. Trouble is, driveway and roads in neighborhoods are sheets of ice, dangerous, and now they’re going to be covered by snow.


  7. Carol says:

    Darn, I disabled my ad-blocker to see if maybe that was preventing my email address and name from sticking. Nope. Guess I’ll turn Ghostery back on.

    I didn’t know we all had avatars, that box is always blank with Ghostery on. They look like little aliens.


  8. Carol says:

    Everything was going well, everything posting, until the post after the one where I mentioned it was snowing here. I wrote about the avatars we have here. If that post mysteriously appears later, you’ll see it.

    So, I’m sure this one won’t show right now either.


  9. Den says:

    A rare occurrence:


  10. David B. Benson says:

    Quite the space story, Den.


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