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Asteroid Roma to cause stellar eclipse on Thursday

Comparative sizes of asteroids. An ESA photo

PARIS (BNS): Sky gazers in some parts of the world will witness a rare celestial phenomenon this week when a star will be eclipsed by an asteroid for few seconds.

The only asteroid occultation of this century is slated to occur on the midnight of July 8, according to European Space Agency.

During the event, the star Delta Ophiuchi – the fourth-brightest star in the constellation Ophiuchi – will be occulted by asteroid Roma, which has a diameter of about 50 km. The stellar eclipse would be visible in central Europe, Spain and the Canary Islands, ESA said.

“While an asteroid is far too small to cover the Sun, one will occasionally move directly in front of one of the many stars in the night sky and block its light from our view, causing a stellar eclipse or occultation.

“Since asteroids move relatively fast, these events typically last just a few seconds. Normally the occulted star is so faint the event can only be seen via telescope,” ESA said.

Thursday’s stellar eclipse would last for five seconds.

ESA’s Space Situational Awareness Preparatory Programme (SSA-PP) will track the asteroid's movement and detect any possible threat to satellites orbiting the Earth.


asteroid  ESA  

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