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Solar System: 5 Things To Know This Week

Solar System: 5 Things To Know This Week

Solar System: 5 Things To Know This Week

This month you can catch a rare sight in the pre-dawn sky: five planets at once! If you look to the south (or to the north if you’re in the southern hemisphere) between about 5:30 and 6 a.m. local time you’ll see Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter lined up like jewels on a necklace. They’re beautiful in the sky, and even more fascinating when you look closely.

This week we’re taking a tour of the planets with recent information about each:

1. Artistic License

Solar System: 5 Things To Know This Week

Craters on Mercury are named for writers and artists of all kinds. There are Tolstoy, Thoreau and Tolkien craters, for example, as well as those that bear the names of the Brontës, photographer Dorothea Lange and dancer Margot Fonteyn. See the complete roster of crater names HERE.

2. Lifting the Veil of Venus

Solar System: 5 Things To Know This Week

A thick covering of clouds made Venus a mystery for most of human history. In recent decades, though, a fleet of robotic spacecraft has helped us peer past the veil and learn more about this world that is so like the Earth in some ways — and in some ways it’s near opposite.

3. Curious?

Solar System: 5 Things To Know This Week

Have you ever wanted to drive the Mars Curiosity rover? You can take the controls using our Experience Curiosity simulation. Command a virtual rover as you explore the terrain in Gale Crater, all using real data and images from Mars. Try it out HERE.

4. Now That’s a Super Storm

Solar System: 5 Things To Know This Week

Winter weather often makes headlines on Earth — but on Jupiter there’s a storm large enough to swallow our entire planet several times over. It’s been raging for at least three hundred years! Learn about the Great Red Spot HERE.

5. Ring Watcher

Solar System: 5 Things To Know This Week

This week, the Cassini spacecraft will be making high-resolution observations of Saturn’s entrancing rings. This is a simulated look at Saturn, along with actual photos of the rings from the Cassini mission.

Want to learn more? Read our full list of the 10 things to know this week about the solar system HERE.

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