If you live in these regions of France, NASA has a mission for you: keep your eyes peeled!

If you have dreamed of one day working for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), reality is within your reach. It will not be a question of turning them into astronauts: the places are extremely expensive, since its creation in 1959, NASA would have recruited only 360 astronauts, and only 44 would currently be in activity.

In the absence of visiting the ISS, in a few days you will be able to lend a hand to the American space agency. On Twitter, the French astrophysicist Eric Lagadec explains the procedure to follow. On October 16, 2021, NASA’s Lucy probe was launched from Earth with the mission of observing asteroids located in an area near Jupiter. These asteroids could provide valuable information about how the solar system was built.

See you on October 23 at 4 am

The Lucy probe will not arrive at its destination until 2027. But an important first step will be taken on October 23, and it is on this date that NASA needs you. “An asteroid called Eurybate, which is about 60 km in diameter and about 600 million km from us, will pass in front of a star for about 10 seconds through France. This is called an occultation.”explains Eric Lagadec.

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In this mission of “collective science”, NASA expects photos: at 4 in the morning it will be necessary to point your telescope or your digital device in the direction of the asteroid and capture the images of the occultation. NASA’s goal is to collect as much information as possible about Eurybate.

By measuring the duration of the occultation and knowing where it was visible from, NASA will have a spectrum of data that will allow it to better understand the size and trajectory of the asteroid and thus better carry out the spacecraft’s future flyby. 2027.

Towards a world record?

So if you have a powerful telescope or digital camera and you’re in the right geographic corridor, you can now register on the French Astronomical Association’s website to take part in this global study that could be on an unprecedented scale.

It is necessary to be in this geographical area to be able to see the occultation. (Photo: Twitter screenshot)

In fact, as science journalist Guillaume Langin reports, a world record could be broken: that of the largest number of people to simultaneously measure a stellar occultation by a small body.

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It would take more than 248 reports to be sent to NASA for the record, set in 1983, to fall.

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