From late 1996 to early 2000, the Moon continues to cover the bright star Aldebaran (a Taurus). Moreover, in central Russia in 1996-97 and 1999, coverage occurs almost every month, and in 1998 they are almost invisible there. What is the reason for such a strange pattern? When is Aldebaran’s next set of Moon Coats?
The star Aldebaran is located about 5 ° south of the ecliptic. About the same is the inclination of the lunar orbit to the ecliptic. Thus, coverings of Aldebaran by the Moon can occur when the point of the Moon’s orbit farthest from the ecliptic to the south is located in the same area (see figure). The figure shows that this point came closest to Aldebaran in 1998, and at that time coverings were observed in the equatorial zone of the Earth, and in central Russia the Moon passed below the star. However, before and after this time, the Moon passed slightly to the north, and the coverage field of view fell on the northern latitudes. After the beginning of 2000, the Moon will pass in the sky significantly north of Aldebaran, and its coverage on Earth will cease. A new series of these phenomena will occur in 18.6 years (the period of precession of the lunar orbit), that is, in 2015-2018.
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