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Solar System: 10 Things to Know This Week

Solar System: 10 Things to Know This Week

The solar system is huge, so let us break it down for you. Here are the top 10 things you should know this week:

1. Big “Wows” from Small Worlds

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Our robotic explorers continue to send truly spectacular pictures and data from deep space. Our New Horizons mission to Pluto and Dawn mission to dwarf planet Ceres are revealing never-before-seen landscapes on a regular basis. If you missed it, check out the most recent images from Pluto and Ceres.

2. Deep Waters

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Saturn’s moon Enceladus has intrigued many with its geysers that erupt continuously in spectacular plumes. Our Cassini spacecraft has provided scientists with data that is allowing them to determine the source of those plumes. New evidence points to a global ocean of liquid water hidden beneath the moon’s icy shell!

3. A Super Eclipse

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This weekend a “supermoon” lunar eclipse will be visible in the night sky. Supermoons  occur when the moon is at its closest point to the Earth in its orbit, making it appear slightly larger. This one is extra special because it will also undergo a lunar eclipse! Beginning at 9:07 p.m. EDT on Sept. 27, make sure you get outside and look up! For more information visit: What’s Up for September.

4. All Things Equal

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Sept. 23 marks the autumnal equinox, which is the official beginning of the Fall season in the northern hemisphere. The word “equinox” comes from the Latin for “equal night,” meaning day and night will be of equal length on that day.

5. Explore Goddard Space Flight Center

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This weekend, Goddard Space Flight Center will be offering tours, presentations and other activities for children and adults. The theme this year is “Celebrating Hubble and the Spirit of Exploration”. This event is free and open to the public, and will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Join in HERE.

6. Titan’s Haze

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This week, our Cassini spacecraft will observe Saturn’s hazy, planet-sized moon Titan. Scientists will use these images to look for clouds across Titan’s exotic regions. Explore HERE.

7. New Horizons Team on Pluto

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Ever wondered what it was like to be part of the team that explored Pluto for the first time? If you’ll be near the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC on Sept. 22 you’re invited to a free lecture and Q&A to find out! Get the details HERE.

8. Martian Weather Report

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Every day, our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter delivers a global view of the planet and its atmospheric activity. The most recent report included lots of water-ice clouds in the afternoon, with dust storms developing along the south polar region. Get the latest HERE.

9. Imagine: The View from Pluto

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If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like to stand on the icy terrain of Pluto, you’re not alone. Artist Karl Kofoed created a series of digital paintings that render scenes from the dwarf planet based on data from the New Horizons July 14 Pluto flyby. View them HERE.

10. What’s the Big Idea?

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We’re giving university students a chance to help us come up with solutions for our journey to Mars. This Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge will look for creative solutions for generating lift using inflatable spacecraft heat shields on Mars. Enter your BIG Idea.

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