On October 16, the NASA “Lucy” probe was launched from Earth. He then took the direction of the Trojan asteroids, an area of the solar system near Jupiter that we still know very little about. Scientifically, the study of these celestial bodies could give us some answers on how the solar system was built.
But to complete its mission, NASA needs you. In a press release he asks all the people who live in this diagonal (see image above) to take their telescope and start the hunt for the stars. As the astrophysicist Eric Lagadec explains on his twitter accountthe mission is quite simple.
The goal is to point his astronomical telescope at Euribates. At 4 am on October 23, the asteroid will pass in front of a star, creating an occultation. The phenomenon will be very fast, it will not last more than 10 seconds. It will therefore be necessary to be placed in the right place to follow the lightning passage of this celestial body of about sixty kilometers in diameter.
This simultaneous observation, conducted from the four corners of the globe, should allow NASA to learn more about this asteroid. During its mission, the Lucy probe is expected to fly over it much closer, in 2027. Until then, the US space agency is trying to gather as much information as possible to make the mission as rich as possible.
For all people who therefore have the necessary equipment to carry out this observation (i.e. a telescope or a fairly powerful digital camera) it is possible to register directly on the website of the French astronomy association to share the results and help science.
Anyone can advance science
In recent years there have been more and more “collective science” missions around the world. If large observatories like the Chile-based Very Large Telescope (VLT) or even the James Webb are extraordinary tools, nothing replaces a multiplication of observations.
By accumulating points of view, space agencies can then group data and have much more information about a phenomenon or object than during a single observation. By implementing these multiple observations, agencies like NASA are also increasing their chances of getting good results.
Had the observation been made from a single point in France, imperfect weather conditions could have reduced all of NASA’s work to zero. In order not to miss these 10 very informative seconds, the American space agency needs you to observe the asteroid Euribate.