What amateurs have learned about the asteroid Eurybate

In 2027, the Lucy probe will fly over the Trojan asteroid called Eurybate.   - Credit: NASA

In 2027, the Lucy probe will fly over the Trojan asteroid called Eurybate. – Credit: NASA

ifthere was a need to prove that citizen science was not a gimmick, the recent observation campaign of the occultation of a star by the asteroid 3548 Eurybate is a good example of the results that can be achieved by well-trained amateurs. On the night of Saturday October 22 to Sunday October 23 around 4 a.m., from the Canary Islands to the north of Sweden, more than three hundred more or less modest observation instruments were aimed at the star HD 5159323 of the constellation of Gemini, in the hope of seeing it disappear or not, behind one of the target asteroids of the American space mission Lucy.

In France alone, the French Astronomical Association (AFA), which largely carried out the project intended to help NASA, indicated that it had received no less than 246 observation reports! Thus, despite the gloomy weather which bothered many volunteers that night, 18 European observers saw the star disappear, while 44 others saw it shine continuously.

eight seconds late

This first made it possible to refine the trajectory of this small Trojan body of Jupiter, namely that it shares the orbit of the gas giant planet around the Sun. Just to make sure that his meeting with the Lucy probe, whose mission is to fly over it in 2027, is not a missed opportunity! Indeed, if the shadow of 3548 Eurybate passed over France as expected, it appeared with […] Read more

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