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Solar System: 5 Things To Know This Week

Solar System: 5 Things To Know This Week

Our solar system is huge, so let us break it down for you. Here are 5 things to know this week:

1. Dancing with a Star

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Our local star, better known as the sun, teems with activity. This month NASA has been tracking regions that burst with magnetic loops. The Solar Dynamics Observatory is one of several space-based assets that keep tabs on the sun daily, watching as charged particles trace the magnetic field, forming bright lines as they emit light in ultraviolet wavelengths.

2. An Idyll for Ida

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On Nov. 24, the asteroid Ida makes its closest approach to Earth (at a very safe distance). Ida is the first asteroid found to have its own moon, and the second ever visited by a spacecraft. Its close encounter happened in 1993 as Galileo flew by en route to Jupiter.

3. Moonshine

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On Nov. 23, the Cassini spacecraft will fly near Saturn’s icy moon Tethys. Several instruments aboard Cassini will collect data, including an eight-frame color image mosaic. Between Nov. 27 and Dec. 2, Cassini will have very limited communications with Earth, because Cassini will enter solar conjunction, when Cassini and Saturn are on the other side of the Sun from Earth.

4. The Moon Will Occult Aldebaran

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That may sound ominous, but all it means is that Earth’s moon will pass in front of the giant red star Aldebaran on Nov. 26. Aldebaran is the bright “eye” of the constellation Taurus. The event will only be visible in some parts of North America. Details can be found HERE. 

5. One Wild Ride, One Year Later

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What a year it’s been for the Rosetta mission since the Philae lander came to rest on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014. A steady flow of data from the orbiter, together with several days of information sent from the lander, is providing a detailed picture of this remnant from the creation of the solar system.

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