Tonight – October 8, 2017 – you’ll have to stay up fairly late this evening (10 p.m. or so at mid-northern latitudes) to see the waning gibbous moon and Aldebaran in your sky. This star represents the fiery eye of the Bull in the constellation Taurus. After the moon and Aldebaran rise over the eastern horizon, they climb upward together until reaching their high point for the night in the wee hours before dawn. If you’re up in the predawn hours tomorrow, on October 9, look for the moon and Aldebaran high in your southern sky from mid-northern latitudes. From the Southern Hemisphere, look in your northern sky.
Because the rising times for the moon and Aldebaran vary around the world, you might want to refer to the links on our almanac page. You can also find out the rising time for Aldebaran via the U.S. Naval Observatory.
The lit side of the waning gibbous moon will be pointing toward Aldebaran on the night of October 8-9. To reduce the lunar glare, try blotting out the moon with your finger to see Aldebaran better. Be aware that the illuminated side of a waning moon always points in the moon’s direction of travel: eastward through the constellations of the zodiac.
In other words, the moon will travel toward Aldebaran throughout the night on the night of October 8-9. Although the moon and Aldebaran will move westward across the sky, the moon will also be moving eastward, toward Aldebaran, a key star of the zodiac. If you catch the moon and Aldebaran before going to bed tonight, and then wake up before dawn October 9, note how much closer the moon is to Aldebaran tomorrow morning.
From much of Asia, it’s possible that the moon will block out Aldebaran for portion of your night on October 9-10. That’s because the moon will occult – cover over – Aldebaran as the moon travels eastward in front of the constellation Taurus the Bull. Aldebaran will disappear behind the lit side of the moon and reappear on the moon’s dark side.
As seen from Bombay, India, the moon will occult Aldebaran on October 9 from 9:58 to 10:44 p.m. India Standard Time (IST).
As seen from Shijiazhuang, China, the moon will occult Aldebaran on October 10 from 1:16 to 2:20 a.m. China Standard Time (CST).
Click here to know when this occultation will take place for hundreds of other Asian localities in Universal Time (UTC). Here’s how to convert Universal Time to your local time.
It might be difficult to see the beginning of this occultation, because the star will disappear behind the moon’s illuminated side, only to reappear on the moon’s dark side.
Around the world tonight (October 8), look for moon’s lit side to point toward Aldebaran, as these two luminaries rise in the east late this evening.
Bottom line: Tonight – October 8, 2017 – you’ll have to stay up fairly late to see the waning gibbous moon near Aldebaran. This star represents the fiery eye of the Bull in the constellation Taurus. From Asia, the moon will pass directly in front of Aldebaran on the night of October 9-10.
Bruce McClure has served as lead writer for EarthSky's popular Tonight pages since 2004. He's a sundial aficionado, whose love for the heavens has taken him to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and sailing in the North Atlantic, where he earned his celestial navigation certificate through the School of Ocean Sailing and Navigation. He also writes and hosts public astronomy programs and planetarium programs in and around his home in upstate New York.