December 26, 2010

Santa’s flight causes stellar occultations

I received the following message from Ted Blank of IOTA (The International Occultation Timing Association). IOTA members enjoy observing stars and planets disappearing behind (being occulted by) the Moon, asteroids, planets or Santa and his reindeer!

Occultations by Santa’s sleigh occurred worldwide last night. The path covered the entire planet with a slight north (pole)-ward shift toward morning. Red-sensitive cameras were overwhelmed by light from Rudolph’s nose, and a magnitude increase was reported as soon as the event began. D and R events from the reindeer’s antlers occurred too close together for accurate timing. If you didn’t observe this event, you should try to be good next year to increase your chance of a hit. Merry Christmas everybody.

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