When Bill Gray and a team of observers realized that the SpaceX Falcon 9 upper stage that launched the DSCOVR mission is going to crash into the Moon, everyone was talking about it. Now, Unistellar is making it easy for citizen astronomers to catch a glimpse of the rocket with their eVscopes, before it crashes into the Moon on March 4.
Update Feb. 12, 2022: It now seems that this object is not in fact the Falcon 9 upper stage, but rather a stage from China’s Chang’e 5-T1 mission.
Unistellar has released three smart telescopes to date, the eVscope, the eVscope eQuinox, and the eVscope 2. Unistellar places value in citizens astronomers and citizen science, and from February 7 through February 9 it may be possible to see the Falcon 9 upper stage through any of Unistellar’s digital telescopes.
Anyone who owns one of Unistellar’s scopes can use the Moving Target Ephemerides page to calculate the exact direction their scope needs to look based on the time and locations.
To do so, head to the page and under “Select a Target” choose DSCOVR Booster. Then the user needs to put in their location and the time of observation.
This generates a list, with all the information needed for the eVscope to find the rocket stage, but clicking on the little phone icon on your mobile device sends all the info needed directly to the Unistellar app.
It is important to note that this is a very small (by celestial standards), distant object, and “Those that catch a glimpse will likely spot a sudden burst, appearing as a dash rather than as a continuous line.”
If you are gonna try to locate the upper stage yourself, let us know! If you don’t have your own scope to try to view it, don’t fret! Astronomer Gianluca Masi plans to livestream a view of it.
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