Citizen scientists will have an opportunity to detect a target of NASA’s Lucy spacecraft, Trojan asteroid Leucus! On the night of January 4, asteroid 11351 Leucus will pass in front of a distant star from our view here on Earth, an event known as an occultation. On January 4 at 10:26 PM UTC, this occultation will be visible across the northernmost part of Scotland; Trondheim, Norway; Skellefteå, Sweden; Oulu, Finland; and western Russia.
NASA’s Lucy Mission, the first ever mission toward the Trojan asteroid swarms, launched on October 16 last year. Our team met up with citizen astronomers from the Unistellar Network who were invited to attend and captured this video of the launch!
Lucy will visit 5 different Trojan asteroids and will provide new insights into these primordial objects that formed the planets of our solar system, the origins of Earth, and even the formation of life.
The Lucy spacecraft is scheduled to visit Leucus in April 2028. Leucus was named after the character of the same name in Homer’s Iliad, companion of Odysseus and an Achaean warrior.
Along with Leucus, the Unistellar Network has already detected Trojan asteroids that NASA’s Lucy spacecraft will visit: 617 Patroclus and 21900 Orus. In December 2019, the Unistellar team observed one of the first-ever occultations of Leucus in Irvine, California.
NASA Lucy Spacecraft Trajectory, simulation by Tony Dunn
Ready to observe?
If you detect the shadow of Leucus, you can help NASA improve Lucy’s guidance system!
Check out our Asteroid Occultation Predictions page for more details on this occultation including location, timing, and more.
- Click on Western Europe on the drop-down menu and scroll down the page until you find 11351 Leucus. Then, click on it.
- A map of Europe with the path of the occultation should appear below.
- Zoom into the map so you can see the exact location where you can observe this occultation.
- Check the information above the map to make sure you have the correct parameters and observe for the correct duration.
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