On Thursday evening the waning gibbous moon will be in the constellation Taurus - among the stars of the Hyades star cluster and close to the glowing eye of the Bull - the bright star Aldebaran. The picture on the left shows the scene at 8pm on Thursday Oct 29th.
The Hyades and Aldebaran make a V-shaped pattern which is easy enough to see even when the moon is signposting it. A little higher in the sky are the Pleaides - one of the most famous clusters of stars in the night sky.
During the course of Thursday evening the moon will pass in front of Aldebaran, an event called an occultation. From Northumberland Aldebaran will be occulted by the lunar disk from 9.56pm until 10.49pm.
Historically, occultations like this have provided astronomers with useful information about both the moon and the star but you don't need to be a professional astronomer to enjoy this little eclipse!
On Sunday September 8th the crescent moon will pass right in front of Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo. For UK observers this is a daytime event so telescopes will be necessary to see it.
I made an animation showing this will look from the UK (specifically from Northumberland).
The Moon is close enough to the Earth for it's parallax to make a big difference on how this occultation looks: for example, move further south on the Earth and the Moon seems to shift northwards against the background stars. That changes the timing and length of the occultation.
The following map shows from where this event is visible.
Even if this particular occultation isn't visible for you then chances are you'll be able another over the coming months. Lunar occulations of stars (or other objects) tend to happen in seasons. Spica will be hidden by the Moon each month until January 2014. For the UK this is our best opportunity to see this unusual eclipse.
A Challenging Series of Occultations of Spica by the Moon Coming to a Sky Near You
Dr Adrian Jannetta
Guitar strummin' explorer of the universe. Mild mannered maths teacher by day and astronomer by night.