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May 2023 - Citizen Science Highlights

Asteroid Occultations: 
Eurybates, a target of NASA’s Lucy mission, will occult a star on May 30 and cast its shadow over Japan. Citizen science observations can help to better determine the orbit of the asteroid in order to help the Lucy mission understand its target before it arrives at Eurybates in 2027. Recently, citizen scientist’s observations of this asteroid helped discover that it was more peanut shaped than spherical! Observations of the upcoming occultation can help to refine the shape and better determine the orbit of the asteroid in order to help the Lucy mission understand its target before it arrives at Eurybates in 2027.

Observers can find more details on our Asteroids Missions page: https://www.unistellar.com/citizen-science/asteroid-occultations/predictions/

A map of Eurybates path. Anyone within the orange lines can observe the occultation, when the asteroid will be passing in front of a distant star. 

Comets: 
Comet C/2021 T4 (Lemmon) will be at its brightest this summer, as it prepares for its close approaches to the Earth and Sun in late July. Through the month of may, this comet will be traveling through the constellation Cetus, which rises before dawn in the Southern Hemisphere with best visibility later in the month. 

Comet C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan–ATLAS) is also creating quite a bit of celestial noise! Although faint right now, citizen scientists are following the comet closely to track its activity and help astronomers anticipate its brightness. Through the month of May it will be traveling through the constellation Virgo, visible to both hemispheres. It is expected to be very bright later next year as it comes close to the Earth!

Observers can find more details on our Comets Mission page:
https://www.unistellar.com/citizen-science/comets/missions/


An observation of C/2023 A3 taken by citizen astronomer Masao S. (Japan). Although faint, the comet is now visible to the Unistellar network! It will continue to brighten as time goes on. 

Exoplanets: 
The exoplanet TIC 393818343.01 will take the stage in May, as Unistellar citizen astronomers hunt for a transit, in which the planet passes in front of its host star. It has only been observed transiting its star once, which was discovered by citizen scientists mining through data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. More observations of how the host star wiggles under the influence of the planet’s gravity show that TIC 393818343.01 has a very oblong orbit. This orbit has led astronomers to think it may be a hot Jupiter in the making! Observations of TIC 393818343.01’s predicted transit on May 22, which is visible to most of the world, will help scientists to assess this theory. 

Observers can find more details on the UNITE (Unistellar Network Investigating TESS Exoplanets) NASA Citizen Science webpage: 
https://science.unistellaroptics.com/

 

Unistellar