An artist's impression showing the binary star system of Sirius A and its diminutive blue companion, Sirius B.
/ An artist’s impression revealing the binary star system of Sirius A and its small blue buddy, Sirius B.

NASA, ESA and G. Bacon


Sirius, a double star, is the brightest star in the night sky. The bigger of the 2 stars, Sirius A, has to do with 25 times more luminescent than the Sun, and Sirius is fairly close-by, at less than 9 light years from our Planetary system.

On Monday night, for a couple of locations of South and Central America, along with the Caribbean, Sirius will most likely quickly vanish. This will happen as a little asteroid passes in front of the star, occulting it for approximately 1.6 seconds, according to the International Occultation Timing Association. (Yes, the acronym is IOTA).

In this case, the asteroid 4388 Jürgenstock will have an evident size simply an iota larger than Sirius. The angular size of the asteroid has to do with 0.007 arcseconds (an arcsecond is 1/3,600 th of a degree of the night sky), whereas the angular size of Sirius is 0.006 arcseconds. Hence, as the asteroid passes in front of Sirius, the star will quickly dim, possibly entirely, in the past rapidly lightening up once again. Sirius might appear to blink when, gradually.

Occultation path of Sirius on Monday night.

Occultation course of Sirius on Monday night.

Worldwide Occultation Timing Association

Sadly, the course for this occasion will happen mainly over water. Based upon maps from IOTA, the occultation will appear over bits of Argentina and Chile, Panama, the idea of Haiti, and perhaps Turks and Caicos. There stays some small unpredictability in the timing, which is anticipated to happen along its course starting at 05: 11 UTC and ending at 05: 26 UTC on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

With a size of 4.7 km, this inner-asteroid belt item was found in 1964 by an astronomer called– you thought it– Jürgen Stock. This occultation needs to enable astronomers an uncommon chance to much better identify the measurements of the asteroid. It is most likely to have an irregular shape– more adding to the unpredictability about the level to which it will obstruct the light from Sirius.

Path of Sirius occultation on Monday night.

Course of Sirius occultation on Monday night.

Worldwide Occultation Timing Association

Sirius has actually long held a location of significance in lots of cultures due to its extraordinary brightness in the sky, with more than 4 lots understood names offered to it. The typically utilized name Sirius has Greek origins, suggesting “radiant.”

The star might play a substantial function in future expedition too due to the fact that the luminosity of Sirius suggests that it is an excellent prospect for the very first interstellar solar sail objectives. The star brightness would help the solar sail craft in decreasing as it neared the galaxy. Since yet, there are no validated worlds around either of the 2 stars, nevertheless.