Citizen scientists across the heartland of the United States will have an opportunity to detect a target of NASA’s Lucy mission, Trojan asteroid Polymele!
On March 26, Polymele will pass in front of a distant star from our view here on Earth, an event known as an occultation. It will be visible to viewers in a narrow band that stretches from Utah to the Carolinas during the evening of March 26, at 8:54 PM CDT (9:54 PM EDT, 7:54 PM MDT). The exact time will depend on your position, but be sure to be alert! The occultation itself is short: Only 7 tenths of a second. The split-second duration makes for quite the observing challenge, but it will be well worth the reward if we detect it!
One of the biggest questions is: What does Polymele look like? Astronomers don’t currently have any information about Polymele’s shape — but an asteroid occultation like this is a great way to get that data! Amateur astronomers across the U.S. will be turning out to observe this event, and with our data combined, we may be able to create the first 3D model of Polymele!
All about Trojan asteroid Polymele
Trojan asteroid Polymele is thought to be about 21 kilometers (13 miles) in diameter, and is a P-type asteroid, which means it’s very dark (or has a low albedo) and rich in carbon-based compounds.
Polymele is also a target of NASA’s Lucy Mission, which launched last October to visit the Trojan asteroid swarms for the first time. 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 Polymele as well as four other Trojan asteroids during its mission. Lucy 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. Lucy’s flyby of Polymele is scheduled for September 2027, and we’ll have even better images of the asteroid then!
NASA Lucy Spacecraft Trajectory, simulation by Tony Dunn
Ready to observe?
Head over to our Asteroid Occultation Predictions page for more information about location, timing, and more.
- Click on North America on the drop-down menu and scroll down the page until you find 15094 Polymele. Then, click on it.
- A map of North America 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.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.