StarWink: Watch an Asteroid Make a Bright Star Disappear on Wed Night/Thur Morning

(This post will be updated throughout the week as more details and resources for this event become available. Please check back regularly.)

Update, Wed, 4pm: Well, it’s gonna be cloudy and rainy and we’re not gonna be able to see this thing happen. BUT, we’re still planning on hanging out in the bars from ~10pm-12-ish and chatting about science with whoever shows up. Come drink with Astronomers while it rains outside! We do this kind of stuff pretty regularly so┬ácheck out our Upcoming Events and sign up for our Newsletter.

Update, Mon, 11pm: Weather forecast is not looking great but we’re planning on going ahead anyway. We might head home early if it’s cloudy but there will still be Astronomers in bars if you wanna hang and drink with us. We can talk about asteroids or gravitational waves and inflation. Whatever floats your boat.

Usually when it comes to observing the stars from New York City, we’ve got the short end of the stick: our skies are too bright and our buildings too tall. However, this coming Wed night/Thursday morning at 2am, NYC is smack dab in the center of the predicted path of an asteroid’s shadow! As long as it’s not too cloudy, we’ll be able to walk out onto the street and see an asteroid! Ok, not really…What we will see is the bright star Regulus disappear for a couple seconds as the asteroid (named Erigone) passes in front of it. The below animation is low budget, but hey, it does the job. We won’t actually see the rock, but rather just see the star disappear.


Astronomy on Tap is sending out crews of snarky yet knowledgeable professional Astronomers and Astronomy Educators to bars around the city to help y’all watch this astronomical event. We’ll probably hangout at the bars all night but will start the viewing and timing prep activities around 1am. The big event is predicted to happen just after 2am. As of Saturday, here are the spots we plan to be at:

Upper West Side: Ding Dong Lounge (Columbus Ave btwn 105 & 106)
West Village: Art Bar (8th Ave btwn Horatio & Jane)
Park Slope: Pacific Standard (4th Ave btwn St. Marks and Bergen)
Prospect Heights: Way Station (Washington Ave btwn Prospect and St. Marks)

Our friends at the Intrepid are also hosting a viewing event. They will have a darker skies and telescopes, but no booze.
West Side: Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum (Pier 86, 46th St & the Hudson River). RSVP required.

Even though we’ll be there to help you find Regulus, we’ve put together some handy star charts.

Regulus Finder Chart

AoT StarWink Way Station

AoT Starwink Pacific Standard

AoT Starwink Ding Dong Lounge

AoT Starwink Art Bar

In addition to just watching the bright star Regulus disappear, we’ll also be DOING SCIENCE! Turns out that the exact timing of the star disappearing from many different locations on Earth can be used to figure out the shape of the asteroid. Simply by using our smart phones (iPad/iPhone app) to record when we see Regulus disappear and reappear, we’ll be collecting data that Astronomers can use.

Even if you can’t join us at any of the viewing locations, you can watch and time the event yourself, watch the occultation via livestream (Ustream link TBA), or follow @AstronomyOnTap, #StarWink, and #StarWinkNYC. Can’t make it out Wed night but still interested in getting drunk while learning about Astronomy? Sign up for our Newsletter (scroll down) and check out our Upcoming Events at a bar near you. Also, consider Cosmos Bingo for your learning-about-astronomy-drinking game needs.

See the links below for lots more info about the asteroid occultation.

This entry was posted in Events.