October Asteroid Program

Overview

The occultation program of the week will be rich in opportunities to detect occultations! You will have the possibility of participating to several new campaigns. Main belt asteroids detection would have great scientific value.

Click here to find out if an occultation will happen near your location!

After you’ve participated in an occultation campaign, we invite you to fill out this form in function of your zone : USA form, Europe form. It will enable us to take your observations into account more easily.

Unistellar is also launching a beta Planetary Defense program, check out the dedicated section to find out how you can participate.

Are you willing to contribute to citizen science with your eVscope for one of these campaigns? Please send us an email at citizenscience@unistellaroptics.com

Watch asteroid 2000 UD52 occulting a bright star

Occultations: What are they? Why observe them?

  • What is an occultation?

It is an astronomical event defined by the passage of an object in front of a star. The star is completely or partially obscured.

  • Why observe them?

To participate in scientific missions that study the asteroids around us and perhaps help discover the origins of life!

If you have participated to an occultation campaign, please fill out the attached form here :

For Europe : Lien vers le formulaire - Link to the form

For North America : Link to the form

Capture d’écran 2020-08-21 à 12.29.00

When, where and what parameters?

2000RH3 (on the night of October 24th)

Asteroid NameAsteroid TypeDateOccultation TimeAltDirectionConstellationWhere to Observe It?
2000RH3 Main-Belt On the night October 24th to 25th 23:08 CEST 30 E-SE Cetus France, Belgium, Netherlands... Map
Asteroid NameRADecExposure TimeGainDuration
2000RH3 03h 05m 03s +02° 56' 28" 200 ms 30 dB 03m00s

2000HQ44 (on the night of October 26th)

Asteroid NameAsteroid TypeDateOccultation TimeAltDirectionConstellationWhere to Observe It?
2000HQ44 Main Belt On the night October 26th to 27th 22:37 CEST 40° E-SE Taurus France, Switzerland, Austria etc... Map

For your information :

BST* concerned UK and Portugal

CEST* concerned France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland etc…

Asteroid NameRADecExposure TimeGainDuration
2000HQ44 05h 17m 32s +22° 49' 45" 200ms 35dB 03m00s

1348 - Michel (on the night of October 28th)

Asteroid NameAsteroid TypeDateOccultation TimeAltDirectionConstellationWhere to Observe It?
1348 - Michel Main Belt On the night October 28th to 29th Spain : 00:51 CEST ; France : 01:02 CEST ; UK : 00:06 BST 20° E Orion Spain, France, UK Map
Asteroid NameRADecExposure TimeGainDuration
1348 - Michel 05h 57m 20s +20° 40' 55" 500ms 50dB 08m00s

313 - Chaldaea (on the night of October 28th)

Asteroid NameAsteroid TypeDateOccultation TimeAltDirectionConstellationWhere to Observe It?
313 - Chaldaea Main Belt On the night October 28th to 29th 01:35 BST & 02:35 CEST 30° SE Monocreos UK, Netherlands, Germany etc Map
Asteroid NameRADecExposure TimeGainDuration
313 - Chaldaea 06h 50m 20s+06° 49' 22"500ms ms50dB dB03m00s

292 - Ludovica (on the night of October 29th)

Asteroid NameAsteroid TypeDateOccultation TimeAltDirectionConstellationWhere to Observe It?
292 - Ludovica Main-belt On the night October 29th to 30th 22:41 CEST 30° SE Cetus France, Italy etc Map
Asteroid NameRADecExposure TimeGainDuration
292 - Ludovica 00h 55m 08s -04° 09' 24" 500 ms 50 dB 04m00s

14664 - Vandervelden (on the night of October 29th)

Asteroid NameAsteroid TypeDateOccultation TimeAltDirectionConstellationWhere to Observe It?
14664 - Vandervelden Main-belt On the night October 29th to 30th 04:26 CEST 40° E Lynx France, Belgium, Italy etc Map
Asteroid NameRADecExposure TimeGainDuration
14664 - Vandervelden 08h 03m 54s +35° 25' 14" 200 ms 30 dB 03m00s

Capture d’écran 2020-09-01 à 15.42.51

When, where and what parameters?

1999XH231 (on the night of October 23rd)

Asteroid NameDateTime Launch (EDT)Time Launch (CDT)Time Launch (MDT)Time launch (PDT)Where to observe it?
1999XH231 On the night between October 23rd and 24th 00:05 23:06 22:07 21:08 Seattle W, etc... Map
Asteroid NameRADecExposure TimeGainDuration
1999XH231 03h 47m 55s +11° 43' 19" 200ms 50dB 02m30

56 - Melete (on the night of October 25th)

Asteroid NameAsteroid TypeDateTime Launch (EDT)Time Launch (CDT)Time Launch (MDT)Time launch (PDT)Where to observe it?
56 - Melete Outer Main Belt On the night October 25th to 26th 21:37 No No No Orlando ... Map
Asteroid NameRADecExposure TimeGainDuration
499 - Venusia 02h 40m 58s +17° 34' 19" 500 ms 50 dB 05m00s

2001DS59 (on the night of October 25th)

Asteroid NameDateTime Launch (EDT)Time Launch (CDT)Time Launch (MDT)Time launch (PDT)Where to observe it?
2001DS59 On the night between October 25th and 26th 22:27 21:28 20:29 19:30 Dallas TX etc... Map
Asteroid NameAsteroid TypeRADecExposure TimeGainDuration
2001DS59 Main Belt 02h 23m 42s +25° 36' 15" 200 ms 35 dB 02m30

593 - Titania (on the night of October 26th)

Asteroid NameAsteroid TypeDateTime Launch (EDT)Time Launch (CDT)Time Launch (MDT)Time launch (PDT)Where to observe it?
593 - Titania Main Belt On the night October 26th to 27th 03:30 02:29 01:29 00:29 Houston TX, Washington MD, New York NY... Map
Asteroid NameRADecExposure TimeGainDuration
593 Titania 08h 13m 40s +25° 41' 5" 500 ms 30 dB 03m00s

624 - Hektor (on the night of October 27th)

Asteroid NameAsteroid TypeDateTime Launch (EDT)Time Launch (CDT)Time Launch (MDT)Time launch (PDT)Where to observe it?
624 - Hektor Jupiter trojan On the night October 27th to 28th 19:35 20:35 21:35 22:35 Salt Lake City UT, Santa Maria CA ... Map
Asteroid NameRADecExposure TimeGainDuration
624 Hektor 00h 35m 01s +18° 14' 08s" 500 ms 50 dB 20m00s

722 - Frieda (on the night of October 29th)

Asteroid NameAsteroid TypeDateTime Launch (EDT)Time Launch (CDT)Time Launch (MDT)Time launch (PDT)Where to observe it?
722 - Frieda Main Belt On the night October 29th to 30th 02:09 01:10 00:12 23:13 Phoenix AZ... Map
Asteroid NameRADecExposuren TimeGainDuration
722 - Frieda 04h 15m 54s +22° 38' 26" 200 ms 50dB 02m30s

"What a Feeling:" A Testimonial from an Occultation's Detector

Here is what Morand, one of Unistellar’s first citizen astronomers, wrote about his detection of asteroid 2000 UD52:

When I received this occultation “mission”, I was a little confused. It seemed quite simple, the event was known, so no chance discovery by amateurs … But hey, I played the game. I had just received the telescope.

Excited but a little late as always, I followed the procedure and … I saw nothing … However, I sent the data. And, a few days later, I learned that the occultation was clearly visible on the data, that I was the only Unistellar to have observed it, and that the scientific value was real : the occultation was very brief, 0.3s (the predicted maximum was 0.8s), therefore particularly difficult considering the small size of the asteroid (~ 6.6 km) and the width of its centrality band.

Having observers near and into the centrality band will allow to better determine the position of the asteroid, and therefore to refine its orbit ! What a feeling !

Unistellar_Morand

How do I observe them?

Check this complete how to guide on how to catch one with your Unistellar eVscope

Before the occultation :

✔️ Check the weather
We suggest you use the clearoutside app or website.
(see p.13 in the User Manual link)

✔️ Clear the memory of your eVscope
WARNING : this step can take up to 30 minutes – 2 hours depending on your Internet connection.
(p.7 in the User Manual link)

✔️ Charge the battery of your eVscope

✔️ Look for updates the Unistellar application (Apple and Android stores).

An hour before the occultation begins:

✔️ Level the tripod and install your eVscope
Turn it on, connect it to your phone and you are ready to start !
(see p.16 in the User Manual link)

✔️ Check the accuracy of the time on your phone
Use the Time.is website : https://time.is/
(see p.9 in the User Manual link)

Capture a screenshot of your phone

✔️ Connect your phone to the eVscope and launch the application 

The application will synchronize its time on your phone, so it is important you start the application AFTER having used time.is as indicates here.

✔️ Launch Autonomous Field Detection
So that your eVscope knows precisely how to go to the occulted star.
(see p.18 in the User Manual link)

✔️ Focus
By pointing one of the first stars recommended by the app and using the Bahtinov Mask.
(see p.23 in the User Manual link)

✔️ Optional step : collimation
If your stars look like “potatoes” and have elongated shape, you need to collimate your  mirror.
Check then this article from our FAQ : https://unistellaroptics.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360002267334-Collimation
(see p.21 in the User Manual link)

 

In the “Target” field enter the RA/DEC parameters and press GOTO 15 min before the beginning of the occultation.

In the “recording” tab enter the Gain, Exposure and Duration parameters, check again your values and click on “Launch” at the start time.

 

Note: Once the recording has started, you can now switch back to the eVscope tab in order to try to see the occultation in real time. Please note that this is a really difficult event to catch on camera.

Do not activate Enhanced Vision during recording: it will damage your data.

🏡 Once at home :

✔️ Transfer your data

Once recording is over, please transfer your data. (If you need help please check : https://help.unistellar.com/hc/en-us/articles/360013803619-eVscope-Data-Storage-Memory-Downloading-and-Uploading-Data )

✔️ Tell Unistellar that you participated
To make sure your contribution is properly processed, please fill out this very short survey by telling us your name, the serial number of your eVscope and if you agree that your name can be mentioned in the EURASTER report on their website (keep in mind to prove the accuracy of your observation, its GPS coordinates will be published too).

Other citizen science campaigns

Find out about Unistellar’s next citizen science campaigns in Europe and North America, and take a look at previous campaigns.

Results

Detections and observations of asteroid occultations coming from the Unistellar network are published on the Euraster website:

– Detection confimed for asteroid 2000 UD52

– Observation of asteroid 2011 KT19

– Observation of asteroid Cebriones

Planetary Defense Program (beta)