Jupiter's icy moon Europa will block out a star for lucky skywatchers

The rare event will help scientists prepare for a next-generation mission to study Jupiter's most interesting satellites.

The European Space Agency (ESA) mission Gaia, which launched in 2013, has been a powerhouse of observational astronomy

, the spacecraft's ultra-sensitive instruments have proved themselves invaluable in the study of the Milky Way.

 an occultation of a faraway star by an extraterrestrial satellite would go unnoticed by almost everyone

 "As Jupiter will be blocking that sunlight during the occultation,

 spacecraft operators navigate between these icy worlds more accurately, and it will help the scientists 

The occultation will trace a path across southern Africa, with the center line passing through Namibia

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