Alert: Scotland favoured for asteroid occultation of bright star

HIP 1131 finder chart
Binocular view finder chart for magnitude-5.7 star HIP 1191 in western Cetus which lies 1.2 degrees west-southwest of magnitude-3.5 star iota Ceti. The blue scale bar is two degrees wide and field stars to magnitude 10 are shown. AN graphic based on Stellarium.

According to latest predictions, observers in Scotland and the north of England are best placed to see (weather permitting) tonight’s 19:48 UT occultation of 5.7-magnitude star HIP 1191 (α=00h 14.9m, δ=-09° 34′ J2000.0) in western Cetus by 10 kilometre-wide, 17.7-magnitude asteroid (12655) 5041 T-3. The star is bright enough to easily be seen in binoculars and the 12-magnitude drop in brightness could last approximately 6 seconds.

HIP 1191 is located just 1.3° west-southwest of 3.5-magnitude iota (ι) Ceti (α=00h 19.4m, δ=-08° 50′ J2000.0), readily visible to the naked eye some 23° above the south-southeast horizon as seen from Edinburgh at the time the occultation is predicted to occur.

Occultation of HIP 1191 by asteroid (12655) 5041 T-3
Latest prediction for the occultation track of 5.7-magnitude star HIP 1191 in western Cetus by asteroid (12655) 5041 T-3 on 15th November 2014. Image credit: AN graphic based on graphic/Steve Preston/Occult 4.1.13

Owing to uncertainties in the orbital model for asteroid 12655, the occultation track could extend as far south as Norfolk around 19:48 UT, to the northernmost tip of Scotland at 19:50 UT.

Observers are encouraged to monitor HIP 1191 from 19:47 to 19:53 UT for any secondary occultation that may indicate the presence of a moon for the asteroid.

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