‘Blink Out’: One Of Our Brightest Stars Will Disappear On Dec 12


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A rare celestial event will take place Dec.11 when one of the brightest stars in the night sky will “blink out” for around 12 seconds.

Betelgeuse is typically the 10th brightest star in our skies, according to Live Science. It’s a red supergiant star within the constellation of Orion, and will disappear from our view as a major asteroid skims past it on Monday.

That asteroid is called 319 Leona, and will pass in front of Betelgeuse from Earth’s perspective, allowing astronomers and amateurs to witness this incredible, unusual, rare event. But not everyone is going to get the full view. Those living in Asia, southern Europe, Florida, and eastern Mexico, will see the event best, and can easily do so with binoculars or a telescope, Live Science noted.

Those not in the right spot for a good viewing party can hop over to The Virtual Telescope Project, an Italian-based program that happens to be in the perfect spot to see the “blink out,” or “occultations” as they’re also known.

“These kind of occultations are very useful to constrain the shape of the asteroid involved,” The Virtual Telescope Project’s director Gianluca Masi said in a statement. “We will be hopefully able to learn more about its large convective cells, which is driving its variable brightness.” (RELATED: Asteroid NASA Hit In Diversion Mission Is Acting So Mysteriously, An Investigation Was Launched)

A livestream of the event will start at 8 pm, and the actual flyby is anticipated around 8:17 pm EST. These timings may shift as better calculations of 319 Leona become available.