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48507NASA - Ask an Expert: Join NASA in Measuring an Asteroid 7/3/2011 11:05:30 EDT

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  • Ash
    Jul 2, 2011
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      http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/europa_chat.html

      Ask an Expert: Join NASA in Measuring an Asteroid
      07.03.11
       
      Artist concept of a narrow asteroid belt Artist concept of a narrow asteroid belt orbiting a star. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

      Asteroid 253 Mathilde, a C type asteroid with a composition similar to 52 Europa Asteroid 253 Mathilde, a C-type asteroid with a composition similar to 52 Europa. (NASA/JPL/JHUAPL)

      A Saturn moon, Rhea, emerges after being occulted by the larger moon Titan. A Saturn moon, Rhea, emerges after being occulted by the larger moon Titan. (NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

      More Information
      Link: Dawn: Journey to the Asteroid Belt
      On the evening of July 3 at 11:05:30 p.m. EDT -- at a distance of 280 millon miles into space that poses no threat to Earth -- a wide path of viewing opportunity will pass in front of star TYC 0292-00339-1 in the constellation Virgo. The asteroid will eclipse the star's light for 17.9 seconds in a process known as occultation. Here on Earth, astronomers can measure the exact length of time the star's light is blocked and use those calculations to help verify the size of 52 Europa -- and you can help with the observation!

      View all details about this event.

      Dr. Bill Cooke and his team from NASA's Meteor Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center will be watching the sky on the evening of July 3, 2011. Join them from 9:30 p.m. to midnight EDT for a live Web chat to ask your questions and observe the occultation via a live Ustream feed. Amateur astronomers who are observing the event can also report their observations via the associated Twitter feed.

      For observers, a wide path of viewing opportunity is available from Florida through Montana and into Canada. The viewing path will be those areas of the country that fall between the two dark, diagonal lines on the map. The combined light of the asteroid and the star will drop by 2.1 mag to 12.1 mag -- the magnitude of the asteroid -- for at most 17.9 seconds.

      So make plans to join NASA in measuring this asteroid's size. See you in chat!

      How to Join the Chat

      Joining the chat is easy. Simply return to this chat page a few minutes before 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 3. The chat module will appear at the bottom of this page. After you log in, wait for the chat module to be activated, then ask your questions!

      More About the Chat Experts

      Bill Cooke
      Danielle Moser
      Rhiannon Blaauw

      'May we live in peace without weeping. May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing. And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating.'
       
      The Universal Heart Center