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NASA selects Senegal to observe occultation by Asteroid MU69

This mission aims to observe and collect data on an object called 2014MU69, an asteroid of the Kuiper Belt.


Devdiscourse News Desk Senegal
Updated: 20-07-2018 16:59 IST
NASA selects Senegal to observe occultation by Asteroid MU69

NASA's observer teams will work in close collaboration with Senegalese scientists from Senegalese universities. (Image Credit: Twitter)

Senegal hosts, from July 29 to August 5, 2018, a major mission of the American Space Agency NASA for the observation of the occultation by the asteroid MU69. The team made up of 45 international researchers, astronomers and astrophysicists will be assisted by some 20 Senegalese scientists.

This mission aims to observe and collect data on an object called 2014MU69, an asteroid of the Kuiper Belt (an area of our solar system located beyond the Planet Pluto) and discovered in 2014 by the space telescope HUBBLE.

After successfully launching, in 2006, the New Horizons spacecraft that visited Pluto in 2015, the NASA decided to continue the mission beyond its orbit and it is expected that the spacecraft will meet on 1 January 2019, the asteroid MU69, 6 billion kilometers from the Earth, as per Socialnetlink.

During the summer of 2017, several telescopes around the world took advantage of the passage of the asteroid in front of a star (occultation) to learn a little more about it. The observations suggest that the celestial body has a bi-lobed shape and could even have a moon.

From Earth, there will be favorable areas for his study. The optimal observation zone crosses Senegal and Colombia. After several simulations, the NASA has chosen to deploy in our country to carry out this important work which will deepen the knowledge on the object and better prepare the arrival of the probe towards its target in 2019.

NASA's observer teams will work in close collaboration with Senegalese scientists from Senegalese universities, the Senegalese Association for the Promotion of Astronomy and some research organizations such as ISRA, CSE, and ANACIM, ANAT, etc.

The observation of the occultation, passage of the asteroid in front of a star, will be a strong moment of exchanges on research in astronomy between the Senegalese scientists and the international experts mobilized within the framework of the mission. It will also be a rare moment of the popularization of science, especially astronomy for the general public.

COUNTRY : Senegal

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